Some of Billy Joel’s neighbors objected to his plans to add horse stables to his island estate, with one accusing him of preparing to build a “stinkpot.”

Joel and his wife Alexis recently submitted plans to establish a living area for 12 horses on their 25-acre property on the exclusive Centre Island in Oyster Bay, N.Y., which is home to a number of wealthy people.

Newsday reported that a 90-minute public hearing took place last week as residents raised concerns about contaminated drinking water, damage to land, reduction in property values and potential odor problems from manure.

“All of that runoff will come down near us,” said Andrew Farren, who lives near the north end of Joel’s estate. “The prevailing wind is from the southeast. … It’ll be, you know, a stinkpot.”

Village trustees decided to launch an engineering study and discussed introducing a local law that would require manure to be stored at least 200 feet from property lines, treated to minimize vermin and smell issues and to be cleared off the island at least once a week. “Knowing the Joels and living across the street from them, they’re going to abide by the rules that are set in this legislation," trustee Grace Haggerty said.

Another resident, Gregory Druhak, said he used to keep a goat on the island but that it was no longer allowed. “I can’t have a goat, but somebody who’s got money can put through a law to have 12 horses,” he argued. “I just find that a little bit frustrating.” The hearing was adjourned until March.

Last year, some Centre Island residents complained that certain rich members of the community were using helicopters too often and disrupting the peace, though Mayor Lawrence Schmidlapp said no anger was directed at Joel. “Billy Joel is not a problem,” the mayor explained. “He goes once a month, flies to Manhattan and gets a limo to Madison Square Garden. He’s home at 11.30 at night. I never even hear him coming back.”

 

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