Global Dressage Festival Organizers & Wellington Government Agree to Settlement for Permanent Year Round Use
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WELLINGTON, Florida, Nov 5–Agreement between the organizers of the Global Dressage Festival and the Wellington government for year round use of the so-called Equestrian Village show grounds was announced Tuesday by Wellington Equestrian Partners, ending more than 18 months of legal battles.
The settlement allows use of a second access to the show grounds that was a key issue in ending the bitter political wrangling over the complex that hosts the Global Dressage Festival and jumper and hunter events at a grass derby field.
GDF is part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center that also hosts the world renowned Winter Equestrian Festival of 12 weeks of jumper and hunter shows at the main stadium. PBIEC and the shows are managed by Equestrian Sport Productions that in turn is owned by Wellington Equestrian Partners, owner of the show grounds and large tracts of land in Wellington.
ESP said in a statement it has”conditionally accepted” the resolutions approved Oct. 22 by the Village of Wellington that governs the community of 60,000 residents west of Palm Beach.
Since then, a series of meetings have clarified and modified the resolutions that were the council said at the time needed to worked out.
The final version of the agreement is expected to be voted on at the next meeting of the council scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Approved is access to the show grounds off Pierson Road and not restricted to a single entrance and exit off a busy four-lane main street. The access point on Pierson will be able to be used by riders, horse trailers and others.
Also approved, the ESP statement said, is “for the site to operate as a permanent commercial equestrian arena with year-round uses of the facilities approved by the council in a conceptual site plan that lays out in detail what the proposed configuration and uses of the property will be.”
“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the litigation between ESP and the Village will be dismissed and the legal battles will be over,” it said.
“The end result is one that is a benefit to the Wellington community and allows the parties to move forward with a positive and fruitful working relationship. The 2014 Global Dressage Festival will operate at the Equestrian Village property under a Special Use Permit as the permanent improvements approved through the new resolutions phase in.
“ESP is looking forward to providing the best dressage venue in the world.”
Wellington Equestrian Partners managing partner, Mark Bellissimo, said:, “The resolution as clarified is a great victory for the Village of Wellington, the Equestrian Community, and our Partnership. I thank the council for its leadership in passing the Master Plan and Conditional use resolutions and their concern for safety in allowing us to modify the current Special Use Permit to allow for use of the Pierson Road for the upcoming season.”
The 2014 GDF circuit provides for six CDIs and an equal number of national competitions from January through the end of March, including three World Cup events, a CDI4*, a CDI5* and a Nations Cup with almost $500,000 in total prize money.