What is Wellington’s Equestrian Community?
Wellington has one of the most dynamic equestrian communities in the country and features several venues for a variety of disciplines including polo, dressage, hunter and jumper disciplines as well as non-competitive, family-owned farms. Wellington’s EPA is identified on the Future Use Land Map and is regulated by the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD). Wellington’s Equestrian Community can be defined by both its location and population. Primarily, the equestrian community is located on 9,000 acres in the western and southern portions of Wellington within the Equestrian Preserve Area (EPA). It includes the land, bridle trails, facilities, businesses and parks that support horses as well as the people who care for them, including owners, riders, and caretakers.
What is the history of Wellington’s Equestrian Community?
During the 1950’s, Charles Oliver Wellington bought 18,000 acres of swampland – land that would eventually become known as the Village of Wellington. Wellington began as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and was approved by Palm Beach County in 1972. Wellington’s first polo match was played in the winter of 1979; within just a few years, Wellington exploded onto the equestrian scene, becoming an international destination and the host of the coveted United States Polo Association World Cup. As polo expanded in Wellington, so did hunter, jumper and dressage competitions. Just two decades after its first polo match, Wellington became home to the Olympic Trials for the U.S. Equestrian Show Jumping Team as well as the Winter Equestrian Festival.Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Area (EPA) was first included in Wellington’s Comprehensive Plan in 2000, and an Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD) was adopted to implement unique zoning regulations for neighborhoods within the EPA. The EOZD was adopted by the Village Council on September 9, 2003 and is known as Ordinance 2003-02.
What is the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District?
Wellington's Council created the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD) in 2003 in order to regulate development and activities within Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Area (EPA). The EOZD is the zoning regulatory framework that protects the community’s character by regulating land uses and development. The purpose and intent of the EOZD regulations are the following:
- To identify and encourage types of land uses which are supportive of the equestrian and rural character of the EPA.
- To preserve, maintain and enhance development patterns which are consistent with the overall character of the equestrian community
- To Protect, Preserve, and Enhance the Equestrian Preserve Area (EPA), Wellington's equestrian community and the rural lifestyle associated with the community.
By identifying and encouraging specific uses that are consistent with the character of the equestrian community, Wellington can sustain its equestrian industry.
Do I live within the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District?
Wellington's Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD) consists of approximately 9,000 acres in the western and southern portions of Wellington as well as the northeast portion known as Little Ranches. The EOZD includes the areas highlighted in yellow in the map below.
What are the subareas within the Equestrian Overlay Zoning District, and what is allowed in each subarea?
The Equestrian Overlay Zoning District (EOZD) is divided into five subareas with different regulations to address the unique characteristics of each area of the equestrian community. Below is a brief summary of the land development areas for each subarea.
To view the land development regulations for a specific subarea, see Article 6, Chapter 10 of the Land Use Development Regulations.
What is the Equestrian Data Project?
Wellington's Equestrian Data Project is a document that will help guide the future of the equestrian community. The goals and objectives of the Equestrian Data Project are to: - Preserve the equestrian community
- Envision and enhance the future of the equestrian community
- Create a sustainable equestrian lifestyle for years to come
- Plan improvements that add value to the community
Wellington has begun the process of formulating the Equestrian Data Project by coordinating with equestrian stakeholders and gathering data about the equestrian community including its activities, assets and facilities. Staff will collaborate with the Village’s Equestrian Preserve Committee and various equestrian focus groups to review data and recommendations to provide a clearer consensus. The Equestrian Data Project is intended to be a community-based document created with participation from all stakeholders.
The Equestrian Data Project will include the following:
- Stall Data and Equine Amenities Data: The number of horse stalls and amenities throughout the community to estimate the horse population.
- Concentration of Horses: Map to assist in evaluating travel patterns, trail usage and destinations.
- Equestrian Discipline Data – Determine the number of horses by equestrian discipline (polo, dressage, hunter, jumper, etc.)
- Waste Disposal: Quantify and develop disposal practices and recommendations.
- Circulation: Review and evaluate pathway systems, intersection points and circulation system; provide recommendations for future trail systems and improvements.
- Equestrian Community Engagement and Consensus Building: Coordinate meetings with community stakeholders throughout the process to create a community-based final document.
- The work and community engagement culminates in a report that includes strategies and action to achieve the goals and objectives.
What is Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Committee?
Wellington’s Equestrian Preserve Committee was established by Resolution 2000-36 to advise Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board about land use decisions within the Equestrian Preserve Area (EPA). The Committee consists of seven residents who reside in the EPA and are involved in equestrian activities or businesses. The powers and duties of the Equestrian Preserve Committee are to provide advice, upon the request of the Village Council, about the following matters:
- Protecting and preserving land in the EPA as an equestrian
- The safety of riders and animals
- Flooding and drainage in the EPA
- Comprehensive Plan Amendments and Land Development Regulations as they apply to the EPA
- Preparing an annual report for the Village Council recommending the need for any equestrian-related projects in the Capital Improvement Plan
- Making recommendations about the design and/or configuration of equestrian capital projects to the Village Council
For more information about Wellington’s Boards and Committees, including the application to serve on an advisory board, visit our Boards and Committees page.
Why is an Equestrian Data Project needed?
An Equestrian Data Project is needed to provide purpose and direction that will enhance Wellington’s equine industry for years to come. For more than 30 years, Wellington’s equestrian community has grown and prospered. During this time, major competitive venues have expanded and the community continues to change. The vision is to enhance the industry as a whole, creating a year-round world class equestrian community that is balanced and sustainable within Wellington and the surrounding region. This will be a collaborative effort and will encourage and promote a stronger relationship among Wellington, residents and businesses to ensure continued equestrian improvements while also preserving the rural lifestyle. Through public input, Staff can collect data that will guide the growth, preservation and enhancement of Wellington’s equestrian community.
Where are Wellington’s Bridle Paths?
Since 1999, Wellington has dedicated and maintained more than 100 miles of public and private bridle trails throughout the Village. These pathways include roadway easements, canal right-of-ways, and public and private bridle path easements. The trails are maintained to provide safe riding conditions for both horses and riders. Funding for bridle trail maintenance and improvements, including the installation of trail head and markings, landscaping, trail footing and trail crossings, is budgeted in Wellington’s Capital Improvement Plan each year. Through the Equestrian Master Plan process, Staff will identify potential trail expansions and improvements to provide the safest and most secure pathways for horses and riders. The map below includes Wellington’s existing bridle paths.
What are the requirements to build a Manure Bin?
Wellington requires all livestock waste to be containerized and covered, and these bins must not allow storm water to result in waste discharge into adjacent bodies of water. The size of livestock waste bins is not specified in Wellington’s Code of Ordinances. However, approval of the design and location must be obtained prior to construction of the manure bin. Livestock waste shall be placed or stored in the livestock waste storage area and shall not be placed, accepted, stored, or allowed to accumulate on any property except as provided in Section 30.153 of the Code of Ordinances.
How do I get more information about Wellington’s Equestrian Community or the Equestrian Data Project?
For more information, contact:
Michael O’Dell, Project Director
12300 Forest Hill Boulevard
Wellington, Florida 33414