Equestrian facility saddles up | RecordCourier.com

Equestrian facility saddles up

Neighbors are hoping an equestrian facility proposed for a spot along East Valley Road will be an improvement.

Stephanie Kepler is proposing to board, train and rehabilitate horses on a 9.3-acre parcel at 1506 East Valley Road.

Planning commissioners approved a permit and variance on the property at their Tuesday meeting.

Located in the rural agricultural zone, Kepler told planning commissioners she cared for horses that have been injured.

"It's mostly fixing broken horses so they can go back to their jobs," Kepler said.

"We're encouraged by what these folks would like to do," said neighbor Craig Parsons. "Anything they do now, by what they've said, is going to be better than what we have now."

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The property has two barns and 21 stalls, 12,960 square foot riding arena. A majority of properties in area have barns, and riding arenas, planner Steve Mason said.

The boarding would be limited to 25 horses at the family-run business.

Community Development Director Mimi Moss acknowledged that the county had received complaints about the property in the past.

She said a property owner could board up to nine horses at one horse per acre.

She said there's no limit on the horses or cows the property's owner could own.

Conditions for the permit include that Kepler receive approval from the Douglas County Water Conveyance Committee and the Allerman Upper Virginia Irrigation Company Board. She must also mitigate the dust on the property.

Planning commissioners also approved a permit for a bed and breakfast along Highway 88 near Fairview Lane.

Property owner Debra McCarthy approached the county for a vacation rental, only to learn that they are only allowed in the Tahoe Township.

Planner Lucille Rao said that the county's bed and breakfast ordinance applies, since McCarthy would be living on the property and renting out a room over her barn, and she's not required to actually offer breakfast.

Under the approval, McCarthy would be required to collect transient occupancy taxes and remit the tax with the proper form to the county.

Rao said that some bed and breakfast owners in the county have not included the form with their payment.