New Grand Lake horse manure codes proposed by citizens
July 29, 2015
Grand Lake is a town where old western charm meets modern mountain appeal.
That dichotomy, between old and new, traditional and modern, is both an asset to the community and a recurring source of friction, as multiple competing interests are often weighed at the municipal government level.
This friction often takes shape in debates surrounding Grand Lake's municipal codes; from property set backs to signage requirements the city government of Grand Lake regularly finds itself addressing issues arising from the struggle between the classical and the contemporary.
At the Grand Lake Board of Trustees meeting Monday night July 27 the Town of Grand Lake heard a presentation from a group of local equestrians seeking changes to the current municipal code regarding horse manure. The current debate started in late June when Grand Lake resident Amber Saldate was ticketed by the Town of Grand Lake for horse manure.
According to Saldate she was ticketed under Grand Lake Municipal Code 7-3-6 Section B which states it is "unlawful for any person to allow their pet animal to deposit excrement upon any street, alley, sidewalk, public grounds, or another's private without disposing of it in an appropriate receptacle immediately thereafter."
Saldate contends she should not have been ticketed for the incident because the Grand Lake Municipal Code does not specifically include horses as pet animals, but rather lists horses under the "livestock" category. Saldate is scheduled to appear in municipal court in early August regarding her June 22 ticket. In the mean time she and several other Grand Lake residents have begun lobbying the Board of Trustees for a change in the municipal code.
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Monday night Saldate presented her own preferred wording for a new municipal code. The language presented by Saldate reads: "It shall be unlawful for any person to allow their livestock to deposit excrement upon any boardwalk, gravel or grass easement between said boardwalk and roadway, in any marked parking stall, or within ten feet of any doorway providing access to a business, without disposing of it in an appropriate receptacle before leaving that area."
Saldate said she believes horse riders in Grand Lake should be required to pick up excrement in pedestrian thoroughfares and other high foot traffic areas but not in the roadways. She explained picking up excrement in the roadway would require stopping the flow of traffic and would also require riders relinquish control of their steeds.
"If we the horse owners are required to stop traffic on Main Street or receive a citation, I feel it is an unnecessary hazard for ourselves," Saldate told the Board. "The most control we have is sitting on our horse's back."
Saldate also explained her belief that the amount of manure from local horse riders would be minimal and that manure in the roadways would have little impact on pedestrian foot traffic.
"As a resident of Grand Lake I don't believe that a small amount of horse manure in the roadways subtracts from the aesthetic or charm of our town," Saldate said.
Saldate requested her proposed municipal code language be brought before the board for an official vote at their next meeting. Grand Lake Town attorney Scotty Krob suggested the Town postpone consideration of the new code language until after Saldate's scheduled court appearance for her code violation. Further discussion of the issue was tentatively scheduled for the last Board meeting in August.
For their part the Town of Grand Lake is taking no official position yet regarding the proposed code changes. Town Manager Jim White referred to the issue as currently a judicial matter and explained that until Saldate goes to court for her municipal ticket the Town is not ready to comment on the issue. White was quick however to dispel any misconceptions regarding the Town's stance on horses.
"The town has never had an issue with horses in town, ever," he said. "It is part of our charm."