The equine community will come together Tuesday night to discuss a new town code addressing horses on residential property -- and make their voices heard.
An "emergency" meeting of the East End Livestock & Horseman's Association has been called for Tuesday night at 7 p.m at the Naugle’s Barn at Hallockville Museum Farm on Sound Avenue in Riverhead.
According to Will Bailey of Neptune Feeds in Calverton, the new code proposed by the town is currently in a second draft form.
The EELHA has been invited to submit to the town what they believed is a "workable" draft, one that is acceptable to equine residents.
To that end, the group will meet Tuesday night to garner input from all interested parties.
The Town of Riverhead has drafted kept on residential property.
In the past weeks, some have expressed concerns, fearful that Riverhead Town "wants to restrict horse ownership" and was proposing one acre zoning per horse.
Riverhead Town Councilman George Gabrielsen said those fears are unfounded. The new legislation is meant to address horses kept in residential neighborhoods -- not commercial horse farms.
The new code, as currently drafted, would allow for four horses on an acre, in a residential neighborhood.
Manure will have to be at least 30 feet back from the fence or property side line, Gabrielsen said; originally, that number was 50 feet but it was modified after discussion with horse owners. Other issues addressed include fencing and barns.
Existing residential horse owners would be "grandfathered in" and not affected by the code, Gabrielsen said.
Some residents, on Facebook, said the measure sets a "bad precedent" and that municipalities should not seek to limit rights of landowners.
Gabrielsen countered that the new legislation would give the town a way to protect horse owners against neighbors' complaints by having a code to refer to.
The councilman added that in crafting the code, Riverhead looked to other municipalities including Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington, and had written an "even more liberal" draft.
"What happens here could affect what happens in other towns on the East End, so all input is important," Bailey said, in an email inviting members to attend Tuesday night's meeting.