The Montgomery County Council voted this week to call a public hearing in response to the county executive's veto of the purchase of the Potomac Horse Center. The Council is considering whether to override the veto.

The council voted 4-3 three weeks ago to purchase the $1.1 million center but the measure was vetoed by County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist. Gilchrist said he was against the purchase because of its "excessive cost and . . . limited opportunities for general use."

But at the council meeting Tuesday, Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson rejected Gilchrist's characterization of the horse center, saying he resented the "reverse snobbism involved in talking about the horse center as though it were for the very rich.

"Many people who are not rich participate in lessons and in work study programs at the center," Hanson said.

County Council member Elizabeth Scull replied that it would be "helpful" to hear at a public hearing from young people "who use the horse center who are not wealthy."

The horse center, a 48-acre tract of land, would be used for renting horses to the public on an hourly basis for trail rides, and for boarding horses owned by county residents. The center includes barns, hay sheds, bridle paths and a small swimming pool.

The public hearing will take place June 16 at 8 p.m. at the county office building.