The Ramona Community Planning Group showed support for the newest San Diego County draft of an equine ordinance last week, which includes a tiered permit fees for commercial horse stables.
Carl Stiehl, who works with the county’s Planning and Development Services’ Advance Planning Department, gave the planning group a presentation on the tiered ordinance, which is only applicable to commercial stables and was suggested by the county Board of Supervisors back in July 2011.
Private horse-keeping is exempt to the equine ordinance.
During his presentation, Stiehl said he interviewed a couple dozen stables, from Sweetwater up to Bonsall and Valley Center.
“I went to the Country Estates and Creek Hollow, which I was told was one of the largest stables in San Diego County,” Stiehl told the board. “The key thing that has come up is how to regulate it—horses per acre is what we’ve decided”
Four tiers of County’s proposal:
- 3 horses (boarding only) not owned by property (as opposed to having a permit to house them): no fee/permit.
- 10 horses per acre, up to 50 horses: zoning verification permit, $1000. May take up to four weeks to receive
- 10 horses per acre, more than 50 up to 100: administrative permit, $10,000. Subject to CEQA, takes 3-6 months to obtain. Stops at planning commission.
- More than 100 horses, more than 10 horses per acre: major use permit, $15,000 to submit with a total cost of $20-$30K. Could take 10-12 year to obtain.
Events are allowed right now under the community event section, but code says you can have six events that last multiple days throughout the year. According to Stiehl, if you want to do more than that, you will be bumped up to the next tier and will need the major use permit.
“The larger facilities will have more regulation—it’s just the nature of the beast,” the county planner said. “Most folks are in support of what we’re doing.”
Stiehl noted that all the jurisdictions require permits for any kind of commercial stables. Previous to this draft, the zoning ordinance requires a major use permit for all commercial horse stable.
"It’s one size fits all, doesn’t matter how many horses or how small or large the horse stable, a major use permit is required," Stiehl wrote Patch.
The county staffer said that the new setbacks are mainly for the new stables being built, with many of the old stables being grandfathered in.
“If they’re doing what they’ve been doing since 1978, they’re grandfathered in. If they’ve expanded at all since then, they’ll need a permit,” Stiehl said.
Stiehl said the ordinance will have a list of grandfathered people.
Under the new ordinance draft, there is now definition for animal enclosure—“They can’t just be wondering around on the property.”
The ordinance's EIR is out right now on a public review right now, so the public can give feedback on things like noise, traffic, aesthetics and more.
The County Planning Commission is expected to have a meeting on the equine ordinance draft in May, with the Board of Supervisors likely to adopt it in summer. Thirty days after the Board of Supervisors approves it, the ordinance will go into effect.
Richard Tomlinson motioned to accept the equine ordinance draft as it stands so far, with secretary Kristi Mansolf seconding the motion. Kevin Wallace abstained from voting, but all other planning group members voted in favor of the draft.