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Our Story

At age 35 when most people are enjoying the prime of their life, I was plagued with chronic bilateral hip pain. Three years later, in 1998, Fibromyalgia was added to my diagnosis. For 8 years I sought answers from medical doctors, osteopaths, physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, TMJ specialists, and orthopedists. I submitted myself to neurocranial restructuring, cleansing and detoxification regimes and various healing programs and technologies, but could not find the cause nor cure. Pain forced me into a sedentary lifestyle and I was forced to give up my active lifestyle of bicycle riding, hiking, aerobics, and skiing with my family. Pain stealing half my energy, I was unable to maintain my career as an educator.          

In 2000, I went horse-back riding at Palomar Mountain. After dismounting, I was overjoyed to discover that my hips and back felt better. Excited that there was an outdoor activity I might be able to enjoy, I acquired an older Hanoverian mare with a great big lateral walk. Together we explored the local and distant trails. Riding provided pain relief as well as the sunlight necessary for Fibromyalgia sufferers. In 2002 our family purchased a rural property in Valley Center with two houses and an 8-acre organic orange grove. We hired a well-reputed Arena Grading Contractor to grade and install an arena and a corral pad. By the end of 2002, we had transformed the 40-year-old diseased and insect-infested orange grove into a beautiful horse ranch with an arena, a round pen, and a mare motel for our five horses. The fresh air, the morning sunshine, mountain views, and having my horses at home was a dream come true. Our neighbors complimented us for creating such a beautiful ranch that enhanced the neighborhood, and they told us that we had made a great contribution to the community. 

Our Rotspon/Donnerhall filly (Rondalet, U.S. Champion Hanoverian mare 2008) arrived from Canada in November 2002 as the future foundation broodmare for our small (one to two foals per year) Hanoverian breeding program. This was the life; beautiful, quiet, and private, with no barn drama; just the horses, the country and us! Little did I know that the County requires a Major Use Permit to operate a small horse breeding operation even though we are zoned Agricultural. We learned that the County of San Diego does not consider horses “livestock” or “agricultural,” yet they still require horse business owners to file and pay the annual Ad Valorim tax for their supposed “Agricultural” business.      

After several months of enjoying the peace and quiet, I began to miss the camaraderie and social interaction of other equestrians. We decided to allow what Webster’s Dictionary defines as a family: "A group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation" to move in and to use our facility for their horse business. Upon their request, we hired a licensed grading contractor who was a client of theirs, to finish the grading of a pad that would serve as their pipe corral area. The pad had been rough-graded by our neighbor and merely needed to be leveled, compacted, and made into a rectangle instead of an oval (moving less than 200 cubic yards of dirt does not require a permit). Without supervision, the workers made a huge cut, destroying our newly installed leach field and then not knowing what to do with all the dirt. We later learned that this cut forced us into an L grading permit requirement.

The situation with “the family” lasted six months. Two weeks after they moved out, we were visited by Code Enforcement and cited for “boarding horses without a permit and building two houses from scratch in 2003”. With aerial photos back to 1964 available to the public at www.historicaerials.com, the latter complaint is easily dismissed as a malicious and false complaint. But we do admit to the crime of boarding two horses on our agricultural zoned A70-L land that allows for an unlimited number of occupant-owned horses by right. In fact, thousands of property occupants in the County of San Diego are in violation of the zoning ordinance due to their boarding of one or more horses, unless the property zoning has an O or W animal designator. We later learned about the history of this “family” including their harassment of other equestrian facility owners with Code Enforcement complaints. Over the past seven years many equestrians, including barn owners, have told us their experiences with these people and that we had made a serious mistake allowing them on our property in the first place.

Like most rural properties in San Diego County, our 10-acre property is zoned A70-L, which allows an unlimited number of occupant-owned horses and donkeys, 14 cows, 6 sheep or hogs, goats, llamas, emus, ostriches or alpacas, 25 peacocks and 25 chickens and roosters, dogs, cats, etc. The property is also zoned for a large or small animal clinic or veterinary hospital that serves the public. The environmental impacts (noise, odors, air quality, traffic, etc.) of these allowed uses that do not require any permit could be far greater than the impacts of 1 to 30 boarded horses, for which the county requires a Major Use Permit (MUP).    

  • Out of consideration for our neighbors, to decrease noise impacts, we installed indoor-outdoor carpeting on our cross-tie posts to prevent the chains from clanging and making noise in the wind. 
  • When our neighbors with horses requested that we leave a riding trail for them to ride through to the westerly trails, we agreed to do so, and we installed our perimeter fence several feet inside our property line. We kept this riding trail maintained for 3 years until another neighbor destroyed it with an embankment and planting bushes on it. 
  • When a neighbor complained about our Jack Russell pups’ barking, we decided to find new homes for them.    
  • When a neighbor complained about dust, we installed automatic sprinklers.
  • When neighbors blamed us for their fly problem (they are surrounded by properties with horses and other farm animals, as well as fruit tree groves) we moved our manure piles to the opposite end of the property away from any houses, requiring our corral cleaners to push the wheelbarrow an additional 700 feet. 
  • When a neighbor complained about us spreading manure with our manure spreader (spreading manure actually prevents fly propagation, according to the San Diego Vector Control Department), we sold the spreader.  
  • Even though we were told by the Department of Agriculture (Viktor Smothers) to include in our BMPs the spreading of horse manure under our orange trees, a neighbor complained, so we stopped this practice as well, even though it is our right to do so on our Agriculturally-zoned land.  From that point, we had our manure removed from the property on a weekly basis. 

It was not until a neighbor spoke to the VCCPG in 2009 that we learned he had a problem with our once per month spreading of soiled shavings under our orange trees for mulch, a practice we were told by the Department of AG to include in our BMPs. We question how this same neighbor tolerated the odor of chicken manure that was used every six months for 40 years to fertilize the orange grove. If you live in an Agriculturally-zoned area, you should know that you may one day be living next to a herd of cattle, peacocks, goats, donkeys, or roosters, or a pesticide-laden plant nursery. Several California Counties have a “Right to Farm” ordinance, where AG land-use has priority over non-AG land use in Agricultural districts. Farmers cannot move their Agricultural land uses to the city, but non-AG land users who dislike the inconvenience of living next to an AG property, can move back to the city.

Here is a simple, common-sense, Right to Farm Ordinance that should be enacted in San Diego County and signed by the buyer of any property located in the vicinity of Agricultural land:
"The subject land is recognized to be in the vicinity of land designated for agricultural uses and may be subject to inconveniences or discomforts including but not limited to: equipment and animal noises; farming activities conducted on a 24-hour, 7-day a week basis; odors from manure, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, or other sources; the application of chemicals and seeds; dust; vectors; diesel fumes and smoke from such agricultural operations. I/we hereby acknowledge and understand this agricultural land use protection and right to farm policy and declare that non-agricultural uses of the subject land, including residential uses, are secondary and subservient to agricultural uses in the vicinity of this property, and hereby notify and pass on said acknowledgment to all subsequent owners and occupants of the above described property."

Born and raised in the city, I had never been involved with any type of land development or grading, so I trusted the highly-recommended licensed professionals. The grading contractor we hired has a policy of doing the work first, and afterwards providing the grading plans, soils tests, photos of the arena keys, and compaction reports to the property owner, who then acquires the grading permit. However, his engineer did not provide us with these documents until a year later. We had already been told by Code Enforcement that the grading would be permitted through the Major Use Permit. Although our desire was to resolve any red tags, county staff refused to sign off on any permit and refused to answer any of our questions about codes or requirements, telling us that everything would be resolved through the Major Use Permit. Our hands were tied. We were forced to exist with the red tags and hoped they would be resolved through the MUP process like the County told us they would.    

In October 2003, the wildfires ravaged Valley Center. The following month we took in several boarders, one of whom was an engineer who offered to help us obtain our Major Use Permit without charge. We were grateful for the help, because as city kids we had no prior experience with the County. After the 2003 fires, Code Enforcement dropped our case. However, we sincerely desired to become “legal”, so we attended a pre-application meeting in December 2003. At this meeting, a DPLU planner told us the permit fees were $8,660.00, plus the CEQA studies (no cost estimate was provided) and that the County might make us do some type of road improvements at the two-road intersection west of us. The planner had researched our property and he stated that our property was in a great location for a horse boarding stable. He told us the MUP would take 4 to 24 months to obtain. Encouraged, we continued to work on the 100-page MUP application while operating our business. 

We continued to take the lead from our engineer friend who assured us that we could complete the MUP on our own for a total of $25K, but by the end of 2005, we had not made adequate progress to satisfy Code Enforcement. The Code Enforcement officer insisted that we hire a licensed engineer to finish the 100-page MUP application and get it submitted. We immediately mailed out (35) thirty-five RFP’s (Requests for Proposals) and received only TWO responses. We were told that most engineers do not want to get involved with small operations requiring a MUP, because the process is a tedious, expensive and lengthy process, the applicant is rarely happy, and the County is difficult to deal with. 

We hired one of the two respondents, a licensed civil engineer, with whom we attended a second “pre-application” meeting with DPW and DPLU staff in April 2006. During this pre-app as well as the first pre-app meeting there was no mention of two very important issues: (1) That the fire marshal’s requirements for “improvements” trump the County and that more important than a pre-app meeting is a meeting with the fire marshal (!), and (2) If our property did not meet the line of sight distance requirements, we could not obtain a MUP. So prior to any pre-app meeting or application submittal, all MUP applicants should investigate these two issues. In the pre-app meeting, I disclosed that we made very little money with a 30-horse boarding business (we were doing it as a community service and because we enjoyed an outdoor lifestyle) and that we were concerned about starting a permit process that we could not afford to finish. DPW staff assured me that the County would “not allow us to keep paying for a permit if at any time they learned our permit would not be granted”. One of the DPLU planners convinced me that one opposing neighbor would not influence the County’s decision as to whether or not to grant us our MUP, but that the majority of our neighbors would have the most influence. Based on this statement from DPLU during the pre-app meeting, and since the majority of our neighbors supported our horse business, three of them being adjacent neighbors, we felt confident that we would be granted the permit. We interviewed land use consultants and engineers and their total cost estimates for our MUP including all fees and improvements, were $60K - $100K. With financial help from family, we moved forward through the MUP process, expecting to spend a maximum of $100K for everything. We also believed it was an investment, and that the MUP would enhance our property value, as the permit stays with the property forever. We thought we could trust County staff. 

Our MUP application was completed and submitted in June 2006, by a draftsman who worked for the engineer I had hired. Consistently incompetent, he mistakenly wrote “80” horses on the MUP application, instead of “60” horses (we followed Code Enforcement’s advice of asking for twice the number of horses we would ever want to board, which was 30). Three months later we received our “Scoping Letter”, which was 30 pages of requirements and a fee estimate of $18,100.00 through to hearing and decision; the total fees being $31K. The Scoping Letter erroneously included protected habitat (which does not exist on our property) and a Biology Report requirement. 

The Scoping Letter took into consideration the environmental impacts from 60 horses, 60 trips to the restroom/septic system, 60 vehicle trips per day, and 60 parking spaces. We soon realized that we should not have followed Code Enforcement’s advice to ask for twice the number of horses we would ever want to board! Following Code Enforcement’s advice has cost us immeasurable grief, time, and money. Our Scoping Letter for 30 horses might have been half the size with half the requirements, had we simply asked for 30 horses from the start.      

After several weeks of pleading with our first planner to visit the property, he finally stopped by on his way home from work one day. After a property tour, he admitted that he had made mistakes on the street names listed in the Scoping Letter and that he “had been reading the map wrong”. He agreed that the protected habitat/coastal sage is located on our east neighbor’s property, not ours. (We had purposefully purchased an old orange grove because it did not have any protected habitat). We had planted an oat/rye grass pasture in 2003, but this was not “native grasses” requiring a Biology Report. The County interpreted their aerial photographs as evidence that we had "removed native grasses" when in fact we planted oat/rye grass in 2003 that we allowed the horses to live on in 2003-2004 before the roots were established, so the horses ate and trampled the grass. I found out through many attempts at trying to understand the process that I was to inquire about an approved CEQA Consultant List, with the “approved” CEQA consultants for the completion of the required CEQA studies listed in the Scoping Letter. It would have been helpful if County staff had included this list with the Scoping Letter. One of the CEQA Consultants I contacted felt sorry for me because I had been assigned this DPLU planner, and she offered to do our Biology Letter for free. She recommended that I ask for a different planner, which I did, but to no avail. We soon learned that she was accurate about this planner. He took weeks to return our phone calls and emails, and several weeks to return the phone calls and emails of our traffic engineer. He was frequently out of the office caring for his wife who had an illness. But we proceeded on, trying to get through the dreadful MUP process. One month after his site visit, a revised Scoping Letter was issued with the Biology Letter requirement waived.     

Following Code Enforcement’s advice and entering the MUP process as a “codes case” has proven to be the worst path we could have chosen. We were not prepared for the implications of having our rights taken away for 7 years. Code Enforcement has refused to take any legitimate complaint from us due to the red tags they placed on our property, but they have not allowed us to resolve the red tags outside of the MUP, so we have been stuck. The County has told us that everything will be permitted through the MUP process. The process has been unclear, confusing, and with continual conflicting information from the various County staff. Since our rights have been taken away, we have had to endure our neighbors’ code violations including 250 bee hives placed 300 feet of our house (In 2003-2004, 250 bee hives were placed on our property line June through July to pollinate a neighbor’s orange grove. Our riders were forced to wear hooded sweatshirts in 80 degree weather and our nice white arena fence was covered with brown and yellow polka dots from the bee pollen and poop!).    

Due to the unknown costs of the undetermined road improvements, we decided to process our Traffic Study first, in case we discovered that we could not afford to do the improvements. DPW would tell us the extent of our road improvement requirements as a condition of our MUP. I hired a traffic engineer who agreed to work on our project because she is a horse enthusiast and believed in our service to the community. However, because her boss did not condone contracting with small projects, she was forced to work on our project “on the side” and as a last priority to her other projects. She could not fathom why we were required to complete CEQA studies, telling us that unless our business generates at least 100 vehicle trips per day, we are exempt from CEQA. She completed our Sight Distance Study (something every MUP applicant should do prior to any pre-app meeting, as this can be a project breaker). She was concerned about a 3-foot section of coastal sage (protected habitat) that may have been in the line of sight. She told us that we may have to purchase that parcel and mitigate in order to pass the sight distance requirement. We thought we were done at that point. But her team completed the study and we passed the sight distance requirement just fine. We learned only after spending $40,000.00 on the engineering work to complete the MUP application as well as the $13K in County fees to submit the application that failing the site distance requirement would have killed our project.

Our traffic study, completed over a Thanksgiving holiday weekend where there was more traffic than usual, revealed an average of 20 trips per day for the 30-horse business and two single family residences. Upon submittal of our traffic study, which fulfilled the Scoping Letter requirements, DPW decided to add even more requirements, including the traffic report from a golf course and inn located three miles from our property. Their Traffic Report took 6 months to complete, so we were forced to ask for a time extension due to DPW’s new requirement.

After the second submittal of our traffic study, a mandatory “meeting” was held in order to discuss and determine the extent of our road improvements. My traffic engineer called me after the meeting, pleased that we would not be required to relocate an SDGE pole, that we would not be required to bring the private roads adjacent to our property up to public road standards (roads neither we nor our boarders used), and that the TIF (Traffic Impact Fee for businesses in the unincorporated areas of the County, charged at $700 per vehicle trip per day) would be waived because the traffic studies for the TIF were completed two years after our business began. Unfortunately, the DPW and DPLU staff did not acknowledge these statements in their meeting summary notes, denying any such statements were made. My traffic engineer was livid as well as horrified that county staff could get away with this.

Our traffic study was rejected again and we were asked to make a few changes. (It would be more efficient for County staff to list all of the changes and requirements necessary with the first iteration letter). Our traffic engineer made the corrections but submitted the study prior to sending it to me for my review. Upon my review, I caught a few number errors and asked her to retrieve is from the County so that she could make the corrections and re-submit. We were assured through emails from DPLU that it was OK to re-submit, which we did. 

In October 2007, wildfires again ravaged San Diego County. We were told that County staff was busy helping fire victims. Since we did not hear from the County for several months, believing the ball was in their court, I sent an email to my planner. The DPLU had recently changed planners on our project for the third time, and I once again had to get used to the field of experience and personality of a new planner, who also had to get up to speed on our project. Our traffic study was finalized and approved in the summer of 2008, with road improvement requirements we thought we would be able to afford including the installation of a Cal Trans barrier around an SDGE pole, TIF fees, and the fire marshal would require a new hydrant and 200-feet of paving. With this, we decided to continue processing the remaining CEQA studies and Scoping Letter requirements. We soon learned that the Board of Supervisors had recently changed the TIF Rules. We had completely changed our project description to accommodate and be able to afford the $700 per vehicle trip per day fee. Now the TIF rules (April 2008) were to be based on the square footage of the business buildings. The original TIF Rules of $700 per vehicle trip had forced us to cancel our Kids camps and riding programs for school children, a wonderful community service. But in order to again provide these services, we would have been required to request an additional time extension and pay our engineer to complete another traffic study, taking into account the additional vehicle trips for the Kids horsemanship programs. Exhausted from the first traffic study and unable to fathom going through it again, we resigned ourselves to a project description that denied these programs.

In August 2008, the DPLU called for another meeting. I convinced County staff that a meeting at the project site would be more productive and efficient. They could get a tour, take photographs, and get their questions answered firsthand. Three County staff showed up for the tour/meeting, at which the DPLU planner took pictures. They commented on the beauty of our facility and how clean and well-managed it is. On the spot, without having to obtain any supervisor approval, the DPLU planner decided to waive the community character/visual analysis CEQA study, stating, “This place is beautiful.  We’ve got to push this permit through.” The next emails included waiving the two studies (Biology and Visual Analysis) and a Scoping Letter fee deduction of $2500 per study, decreasing our total fee estimate down to $26K. 

Still hopeful that we would be able to afford the MUP, we continued processing the remaining CEQA studies (Noise, Air Quality, Fire Planning, Manure Management, Vector Control Plan, Landscape Plan, Environmental Site Assessment, a new Stormwater Management Plan (the County had new requirements for this, so our original SWMP was no longer valid), and other engineered documents. We interviewed and entered contracts with the various approved CEQA consultants, and worked as quickly as possible to get the remaining studies submitted. 

County staff charges MUP applicants at a rate of $150 to $200 per hour for their time. Invoices are received that are not detailed. It is impossible for an applicant to know where and how their money is spent, and whether there is any accountability in regards to the charges. County staff rarely admits their mistakes, covering each others backsides and always blaming the applicant. In our case, the time extensions we requested were all due to County staff errors, inefficient communication, and changes in regulations and requirements. Although the sixth planner assigned to our project convinced me that time extensions are usual and to be expected throughout a Major Use Permit process, her supervisor decided that there would be no more time extensions granted, even for us to appeal the fire marshal’s new requirements that we pave our entire horse ranch including our riding trails and walk ways. Because we are a “codes case” we were given the deadline of 7/31/09 to submit all the remaining CEQA studies. We did it, meeting all the requirements of the Scoping Letter, leaving the paving appeals for a later time. We were also given a letter stating that our MUP fees have been increased from $26K to $94K, with no fee cap and no guarantee that we would ever be granted our permit. This is a 400% fee increase with no warning, no reasoning, and no explanation. Instead of a fee increase, we actually should be granted a fee decrease, because the Scoping Letter was based on 60 horses and our project description since 2007 has only included 30 horses total, including the horses owned by the property occupants. 

One month after we had submitted all of the CEQA studies, we received a 34-page “Iteration” letter from DPLU, outlining all the required clerical changes they want us to make to our CEQA studies and engineered documents. This is a normal procedure that includes a series of “iterations” before the documents become permanent public records.  

In this iteration letter, the DPLU planner stated that “a new potential project breaker” had been identified. The fire truck drive time to the project site is over six minutes, according to the County’s new way of calculating. (Keep in mind that this fire truck drive time had already been resolved with the fire marshal’s drive time of 4-5 minutes, included with the submittal of our MUP application in 2006). They now required us to have the fire marshal oversee a timed real-time fire truck drive from the fire station to our property. They did, and it was between 4-5 minutes, exactly as the fire marshal had originally stated on the Fire Availability Form in 2006. My land use consultant informed me that the County’s website states that our project is considered “neighborhood commercial” and as such, the fire truck drive time maximum is actually 10 minutes, not 5. The DPLU planner admitted that several thousand dollars had been charged to my account for this fire truck drive time issue, so I asked for a refund. DPLU senior staff told me that it was a “new interpretation” and there would be no refund. However, we are not OK with this and we believe the County owes us close to $5K for this blunder.

In September 2009, Code Enforcement mandated that we attend a “Code Enforcement Issue Resolution Meeting” with 14 County staff. I told them that past meetings have been a waste of time and money for all concerned, and that anything to be resolved could be done so through written correspondence. But they insisted on this 2 ½ hour CEIR meeting, wherein we were given contradictory information including a completely erroneous explanation of the Zoning Ordinance, which was weeks later corrected by DPLU staff.  

San Diego County staff have abused and punished us for six years. We never should have taken CE’s advice to enter the MUP process as a “codes case”. Instead, we should have resolved any code violations, sent our two boarders packing and closed the horse business, permitted the grading, and entered the MUP process with a clean slate. Had we done this, we would not have any red tags still lingering. We would have learned in 2003 that the second dwelling and main house garage were never permitted by the original owner and that the sellers we purchased the property from either did not know or lied on the disclosures. Three years after submitting our MUP application, we have invested over $100,000.00 into the MUP process, including County fees, engineering costs, and CEQA studies. The reason for the MUP is apparently to "protect the public". But consider that our property is zoned for an unlimited number of occupant-owned horses, mules, and donkeys, 14 cows, 6 hogs, 25 chickens and roosters, 25 peacocks, and even a small or large animal clinic or vet hospital. With these land uses that are allowed "by right" (i.e., no permit required), this property could have more impacts than our private boarding facility that houses 25 boarded horses and 5 of our own.         

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We agree with the statement on Brian Bilbray's website and that government is stifling the success of the American Dream. To quote Brian: 

"I think a big part of the American Dream is making sure opportunity is available to every American who dreams big and works hard. I think it is our duty to make sure future generations have this opportunity, not simply a giant debt handed to them from us just as they are getting started. The best government program to kick-start this economy is for Washington to stop thinking that bigger government is the answer for everything. Instead, Washington should simply free up the American innovator and the American worker by ending the over-taxation, over-regulation, and over-litigation that is stifling our economy. That’s how government can help restore opportunity and the American Dream".  

But is there any hope for California? San Diego County government is just as guilty as the federal government with regards to over-regulation and rape and pillage of property owners through exorbitantly expensive permit fees and requirements. 

Since we cannot afford a 400% increase in fees and the DPLU will not cap the fees nor guarantee our permit, we would be fools to continue processing the MUP unless we had a million dollars to burn. We closed our business in 2009 and we are trying to sell the property. Unfortunately with the red tags that still remain on the property, the costs to permit everything are exorbitant compared to what they would have been in 2003, thanks again to Code Enforcement’s bad advice. And due to our inability to afford the 400% MUP fee increase, Code Enforcement will place even more unreasonable demands on us that they know we cannot afford, fining us $1,000/day until we bring the property into compliance, a process through which they can lien and confiscate our property. 

We trusted the authority, Code Enforcement, and followed their guidance with regards to the MUP process. People speculate that the County knew all along that they would eventually own our property. Some people call it the game of "bait and switch". 

Along with 150 letters of support for TMEC including letters from two adjacent neighbors, I presented our situation to the Valley Center Community Planning Group (VCCPG) in October 2009. We compiled 15 notebooks (one for each planning group member) with color photos and documentation on how we comply with CEQA and how we manage our horse business. We have a clean and beautiful equestrian facility, a property that has been referred to as a "precious gem" of the community. We have one opposing neighbor who is upset not about the horses, but about what he thinks we have “gotten away with” as far as not having to permit a granny flat or the grading. What he does not understand, is that nothing gets permitted until after the MUP is obtained and that we have had more hardship and expenses with our permit process than he can imagine. The VCCPG approved our horse business and our facility with 100% support, and the Chairman of the VCCPG made this statement to the local newspaper editor:

"Dave, I believe the expansion of the Tapestry Meadows Equestrian Center project scope from a small submittal to the current Major Use Permit with required road paving proposal is a good example of how the DPLU seems to be running amuck in its own regulations. They appear to be setting overbearing requirement precedents without common sense or situational understanding. It seems to be particularly prevalent when an applicant lacks resources to fight what to me is an obvious misuse of process. Equestrian facilities like this are normal and to be expected in Valley Center. Equestrian facilities in Valley Center have dirt roads into them that are normal and to be expected. Equestrian facilities like this in Valley Center offer facilities and services on a scale that is normal and to be expected in our rural environment. These are not new commercial activities like food stores and gas stations. They are the kind of rural, agricultural based activities that Valley Center is known for and heartily promotes. I believe that the county needs to take an out of the box look at the whole process of how we got to where we are and what a reasonable, common sense approach would be to resolve this issue".  ~ Oliver Smith, Chair, VCCPG

TMEC is one of thousands of horse boarding situations (remember, it only takes one non-occupant-owned horse to trigger a code enforcement violation) in San Diego County that cannot afford to obtain the required major use permit, ours having grown in expense from an estimated $100K to $500K currently.

This is the summary of our story to date. Our purpose in sharing our story is to educate the public, and to encourage the enactment of a reasonable and streamlined permitting process for horse boarding situations in our county.  

To be continued….