, Gloucester, MA

May 2, 2013

Letter: Rockport must heed concerns over horses

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

We attended the Rockport Board of Health meeting held on Tuesday, April 23, in which there were discussions about the construction of a stable to house two horses on Mary Helen Way.

During the meeting, a number of neighbors/abutters expressed concerns about smell, flies, noise and contamination from runoff. Their concerns are valid.

For the past six years, we have been forced to endure the stench, flies and noise from our neighbor’s two ponies. It smells every day.

In the summer it escalates to a stench. You can actually distinguish between the smell of feces and urine. We understand that, by law, manure has to be picked up within eight hours. That means when our neighbors leave to go out in their boat on the weekends at 10 a.m. and return at 6 p.m., the feces and urine have baked in the hot sun, permeating the ground attracting swarms of flies. In addition, manure can be stored in containers for we believe up to 8 days and brought to the land fill to be dumped. Do you know what eight-day-old manure smells like?

We cannot enjoy our yard or deck not only due to the stench, but to the flies as well. The flies bite our ankles, buzz around our heads, and land on our food forcing us inside. Our screens are covered with them.

We have complained to the Board of Health about the flies. Our neighbors have told the Board of Health they use an environmentally safe spray and have introduced parasites to suppress the fly problem. But it does not work. The spray is heavily scented pine and is an irritant to eyes and throat.

The ponies are noisy, especially when one is taken out of the pen and off the property. The remaining pony neighs incessantly until its pal returns. What is even more irritating is the mucking out of the stalls. On mornings we are awakened, usually around 6 a.m., by the sound of the shovel scraping the cement floor of the stalls. Within 30 seconds, the smell hits you.

We live on Applecart Road close to the Millbrook Valley well fields. The Mill Brook feeds the well fields then continues on to the Mill Pond discharging on Front Beach. We have brought our concerns about the possible contamination of the well fields by the runoff from the ponies to the attention of the town via several boards. We are in a watershed protected area, yet it has been determined there is no threat.

One other thing to be considered is the delivery of the hay and food. Our neighbors get their supplies from the Essex Co-Op. The delivery truck is huge. Applecart Road is a one lane dead end road similar to Mary Helen Way. The two roads are not built to accommodate such large and heavy vehicles.

Our quality of life has been severely impacted. We are unable to enjoy our deck and yard. We feel our property has been devalued. We have gone from town board to town board not because we have not gotten the answers we want, but because no one wants to remedy it.

Our thoughts are with the neighbors/abutters on Mary Helen Way. It will always smell, the “environmentally safe” spray for fly remediation does not work, it will be noisy and your concerns of contamination from fecal runoff will probably not be addressed.


Applecart Road, Rockport