Council to discuss lifting Birch Bay horse ban

Published on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 by Jake Lunden

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Birch Bay may resound with the clip-clop of horse hooves this summer if the Whatcom County Council passes a newly proposed amendment to a ban on horse traffic on Birch Bay Drive. The 1985 ban was brought to light in recent weeks when Birch Bay resident Robert Edmonds proposed a new business giving carriage rides along the waterfront road. At present, horses are legal on all Whatcom County roads except for Birch Bay Drive during summer months.

Council members discussed the amendment at the April 13 meeting of the Public Works and Safety Committee, and the bill will be brought to a vote two weeks later at the regular council meeting on Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. at 311 Grand Avenue in Bellingham.

Proposed by council member Carl Weimer, the bill would permit horse traffic on the section of Birch Bay Drive located between Alderson and Harborview roads.

The law would limit horse-drawn vehicles in weekend traffic between  2 p.m. Fridays to 2 p.m. Sundays, and would expire at the end of 2010.

Operators of horse-drawn vehicles would be required to gain approval through the Whatcom County Sherriff's Office before taking the reigns to Birch Bay Drive.

The proposed amendment requires operators to submit a plan of the vehicle and manure-collection device, intended route, stops, days and hours of operation, a description of how the driver will consider horses’ welfare, along with copies of all required state permits and licenses.

Council member Barbara Brenner said she approves of the amendment. “I think it’s something really neat for Birch Bay,” Brenner said. “It’s going to be a perfect fit for the area.”

For more information, contact the Whatcom County Council at 360/676-6690.