Fireworks Exemption Equestrian Preserve Area Bill Fact Sheet

Request

  • Create a partial exemption for the Village of Wellington from the provisions of sections 791.001 and 791.08, Florida Statutes to permit Wellington to regulate fireworks within its Equestrian Preserve Area on certain designated holidays.

Background

  • Thousands of horses and equestrians come to Wellington each year for Wellington’s equestrian sporting events.
  • More than 13,000 stalls are occupied by horses during the equestrian season.
  • The horses in Wellington are specially bred and trained for competitive equestrian events such as hunter/jumper sports, dressage and polo.
  • Wellington citizens and visitors invest enormous time, energy and financial resources in the care and training of their horses.
  • It is well established that horses are startled by loud noises and sudden flashing lights and are particularly frightened of fireworks. Fireworks are known to cause anxiety and stress in horses and cause them to gallop, sweat and tremble, causing cuts, strains and sprains.
  • Section 791.001 creates uniform application of Chapter 791, Florida Statutes (regulation of fireworks) throughout the state.
  • Section 791.02 generally prohibits the sale, exposure for sale, retail sale, use or explosion of fireworks.
  • Section 791.07 permits the importation, purchase, sale and use of fireworks for used exclusively for frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.
  • Chapter 2007-67, Laws of Florida prohibited local governments from regulating fireworks unless they had ordinances in place on March 8, 2007.
  • Wellington had no ordinances regulating fireworks in place on March 8, 2007.
  • Newly adopted section 791.08, Florida Statutes, establishes an exemption from the general prohibition found in section 791.02 and allows the use of fireworks on the designated holidays of New Year’s Day, Independence Day and New Year’s Eve.
  • Wellington is preempted from regulating fireworks on the designated holidays pursuant to section 791.001, Florida Statutes and 2007-67, Laws of Florida.
  • The unregulated use of fireworks within the Equestrian Preserve Area poses a danger to the many thousands of horses that are stabled in Wellington, and their owners.
  • Wellington’s economy depends upon the viability and success of its unique equestrian industry.
Wellington's Equestrian Preserve Area encompasses 9,156 acres

Purpose of the Legislation

  • Protect the safety of life and horses and their owners in Wellington by permitting Wellington to regulate fireworks on the designated holidays set forth in section 791.08, Florida Statutes within the Equestrian Preserve Area.
  • Preserve the character of Wellington’s unique equestrian community by allowing Wellington to develop regulations that are best suited for its citizens.

Strategies

  • Protect the health, safety and welfare of highly valued horses in Wellington and their owners by preventing the stress, anxiety and injuries that can result from the unregulated use of fireworks within the Equestrian Preserve Area of Wellington on the designated holiday.
  • Preserve the rural residential character of Wellington’s equestrian neighborhoods.
  • Result in no negative impact on tax revenue.
  • Preserve the viability and success of Wellington’s economy, which depends upon the equestrian events, and ensure that citizens and visitors are able to safely stable their horses in Wellington.