Over the objections of residents of the Ranch, a subdivision in the southernmost section of the city, the City Council unanimously voted last week to have its staff draft a Horse Preservation Ordinance preventing any permanent construction that would interfere with the keeping of horses on a residential lot.
The city has about 2,500 residential lots, of which 75% to 80% are designated for keeping horses, said Steve Nystrom, a city planner. There are 103 lots in the 139-lot Ranch large enough to stable horses, said Trish Lange, a board member of the Ranch Homeowners Assn. No residents of the Ranch keep horses, Lange said, and most would rather use their large lots for other forms of recreation.
"This is on the outer edge of violating our freedom," Lange told the council. "We are not disputing our rural equestrian tradition. Our concern is that if this is passed . . . equestrian interests will take precedence over other forms of recreation."
The proposed measure would codify a 3-year-old city policy of not permitting permanent improvements to horse lots unless 800 square feet remain for stabling a horse. The change also requires there be a 35-foot separation between a residence and horse facilities.