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More of Malta open to horses thanks to new law

Those who reside within an R-1 zone in the Town of Malta can now apply for permission to keep horses on their property, assuming they meet certain criteria.

The Malta Town Board unanimously passed the equestrian use law at their Monday, July 7 meeting. Those who wish to keep a horse must first apply to the town's planning board for a special use permit. Applicants must have at least three acres of land with a minimum of 200 feet of road frontage and at least 50 foot setbacks from neighboring properties for all buildings.

The decision means that Jim and Mary Pellerin are one step closer to bringing a horse home to their 10-acre property on East Line Road. Their desire to bring a horse, Gus, home for their daughter sparked a debate over residential equestrian use that went on for months.

I hope this brings you one step closer to bringing Gus home, said Councilwoman Tara Thomas before the votes were cast.

They Pellerins will now file an application with the planning board. They may make it onto the agenda for the board's Tuesday, August 19 meeting.

"I'd like to thank the town board members for the conversations with the equine community," said Mary Pellerin during a public hearing before Monday's vote.

The equine community was well represented at the hearing. "As you know, this is horse country, and it's nice to see that horses are looked upon with a friendly eye," said Marsha Himler, a representative for the New York State Horse Council and president of the New York Horse Park initiative group. She offered the advice of the Horse Council in any technical matters the town might encounter regarding the issuing of special permits.

Representatives from the Cornell Cooperative Exchange and the Saratoga County Farm Bureau made similar pledges of support.

Permits for R-1 equestrian use will be awarded on a case-by-case basis by the planning board. In addition to meeting space requirements, applicants must provide information on manure management, the impact on neighboring properties and other issues.

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