Carriage horse laws go up for discussion

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 7:04 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates are calling for changes in the carriage horse industry.

This week city leaders are set to make some decisions on their proposals.

Documents have been presented by both the advocates and the carriage horse industry, as well as a new draft ordinance written by the City of Charleston’s legal team.

Charleston Livability and Tourism Director Dan Riccio says the goal of their Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday meetings is to find the middle ground.

Nearly a year ago the Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates submitted their version of a new ordinance pertaining to horse carriage laws. The city’s legal team says they then drafted a new ordinance incorporating their suggestions. Most recently, a group representing the horse carriage industry called Charleston CARES went through the document and made their recommendations.

Those with CCHA say there are three specific major changes they want to see. First, they say they would like the city to require background checks on drivers. Second, they would like the city to require routine drug and alcohol screenings. Finally, the CCHA says they would like to see a requirement of two drivers per carriage.

Charleston CARES leaders say they already have an existing internal system for drug and alcohol screenings. They also say requiring two drivers would raise costs and potentially put them out of business.

There are several more things they are set to discuss including LED lights on carriages, emergency procedures during weather events like hurricanes, and more.

None of these drafts are final, and all of them will be discussed at the sub-committee meetings.

“Because our proposed ordinance is in play and so are the other recommendations,” Riccio said. “It’s up to the sub-committees to determine what is actually practical and legal to enforce.”

The meetings are set for 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

All public comments are welcome, but officials say they need to be submitted before noon the day of the meeting.

Depending on the decisions made during the meetings, a new draft ordinance will be submitted to the full Tourism Commission for a vote.

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