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South Bay Digest

R.H. Estates : Stabling Ordinance Ordered

January 23, 1986

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.

Planning Director Steve Emslie said city staff will work with homeowners who want to build swimming pools and tennis courts to arrange the improvements to allow sufficient room for future horse facilities. He said there is a finite number of horse lots in the city and to allow them to be overbuilt would reduce the unusual horse-keeping ability the city offers residents and erode the rural flavor the city has tried to foster.

If the measure passes as proposed, residents who seek an exemption from the restrictions will have to file for a variance, which carries a $100 filing fee, Emslie said.

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