Equine Legacy Area

Baltimore County has released its draft Master Plan 2030. The Master Plan is intended to guide the County Executive, County Council, and County Departments in promoting responsible development in an equitable and environmentally-sensitive manner. The Master Plan should promote adequate open space to help secure a sustainable future for Baltimore-area residents, built around the principles of equity, sustainability, and vibrant communities.

The Valleys Planning Council wants the County to include the Equine Legacy Area (ELA) in its Master Plan as a way to acknowledge and protect the economic, environmental, and cultural benefits this unique asset provides to the County. The draft Master Plan lists the ELA as something that should be studied sometime in the next three to five years. VPC feels the study is complete, and is also concerned the ELA will slip through the cracks and the County will not find the time or money to study and adopt the concept.

The Planning Board is accepting comments on the Master Plan until noon on May 17. Please send an email to the Planning Board asking that the ELA be adopted within a year.

Email will be sent to the Baltimore County Planning Board.

Subject line of email: In support of the Equine Legacy Area from [your name]

Text of email:

Please include the Equine Legacy Area (ELA) in Baltimore County’s Master Plan 2030. It currently is identified as something to be studied over the next three to five years, but the study has already been completed. Please change the recommendation to complete the study and adopt the ELA within one year.

Development pressures constantly threaten the interconnectedness needed to realize the economic, environmental, and cultural benefits provided by Baltimore County’s equine industry. The County needs to recognize this globally unique asset to assure continued employment opportunities; cultural activities that attract both County residents and tourists; and benefits for natural resources, including carbon sequestration provided by pastures and woods. Baltimore County’s Equine Legacy Area is a differentiator that attracts people to live and work in the area and ensures the continued survival of a vibrant, rural way of life that has been part of this County’s history for generations.

With hundreds of horse farms, thousands of horses, and hundreds of millions of dollars in equine assets, equine activities contribute significantly to the economic health of the County and the entire State. Equine landscapes, which include woodlands, pastures, and stream buffers, keep soils healthy and drinking water clean here in Baltimore County, as well as downstream in Baltimore City. The diversity of horse disciplines, including steeplechase, pleasure riding, polo, therapeutic riding, and commercial breeding, provide easily accessible entertainment and recreation for area residents and visitors alike.

Unless the County recognizes the need to protect this critical land mass, the myriad businesses and professions that support the equine industry cannot be assured of survival and continued growth. Thank you for recommending that the Master Plan 2030 specify the ELA must be studied and adopted within one year.

CC: The Valleys Planning Council office

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