December 10, 2018

Legislative/Regulatory Update: What’s up locally?

There have been several recent developments on the local government level that may be of interest to the full horse community.

First in Charles County, there will be a variance hearing on December 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room, Charles County Government Building (200 Baltimore St., La Plata) to discuss zoning of South Breeze Equestrian Center. All are welcome. A main issue is the effect of the application of the term “commercial” to a horse farm. Details of the appeals are linked below:

In Frederick City, protests have continued this fall in an attempt to derail the holiday carriage rides offered downtown. Protestors disrupted a discussion of horse-drawn vehicle regulations in late October at a Frederick Board of Aldermen workshop. The proposed update to language of this city ordinance is anticipated at a public hearing in the coming weeks. MHC will inform the community when this date has been set.

Finally, in Montgomery County, MHC has been informed that the MD Department of Taxation and Assessments is updating their records for agriculturally assessed properties.

In cases where there is no current Declaration of Intent to farm on file for a particular property, they are asking for this. In some cases, they are also requesting that property owners submit new applications for an agricultural use assessment to make sure the agricultural operation information is current and accurate. This process is outside the normal reassessment process that occurs every three years. The Maryland Horse Council has been informed that in at least one case they have removed the agricultural use assessment and changed it to residential, although the agriculture use assessment was restored after the owner contested the action. As MHC receives more information, we will be updating the community.

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