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Links - In October 2009, The Valley Center Community Planning Group learned about the difficulty and expense of trying to obtain the required Major Use Permit to board one or more horses on agriculturally-zoned land. They appointed an Equine Subcommittee to research equestrian zoning ordinances throughout other California counties and to work towards a more reasonable equine zoning ordinance for San Diego County. There are hundreds of un-permitted horse boarding businesses throughout San Diego County, many providing services that are in great demand by the public, and yet few of these operations can afford the required Major Use Permit. Code Enforcement shuts down these businesses one by one, as all it takes is one complaint, be it from a bullying neighbor, a disgruntled business associate, or even a malicious and jealous person who lives in another county. If something is not done to change the zoning laws, development will continue to crowd out horses, destroying a very healthy outdoor recreational activity for the public.

King County California Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance in 1996 called the "Right To Farm Ordinance", which every buyer of property within their County is required to sign, acknowledging the fact that neighbors may have farm animals or other farming operations that bring flies, odors, dust, noise, and other normal features of farming. ( Buyers of properties near agriculturally-zoned land in San Diego County should be required to sign a document such as this. Agricultural land owners should not be forced to give up their rights to agriculture and farming. We do not impose our farming rights on our city neighbors, which is why we moved to AG-zoned property. City folk should learn what living in the country is really like before they move next to AG-land.

We believe the County should help well-managed horse boarding facilities to become legal instead of destroying them through unreasonable, oppressive, and ridiculous demands. And the zoning laws should be applied equally to every property, not just on a complaint basis. Other California counties have successfully established Equine Zoning Ordinances that work well for all concerned. San Mateo is one example.

It is our hope that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors will take a serious look at what works for equine zoning throughout other counties in California, and that they will appoint an Equine Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of volunteers who are CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) experts, Equine Veterinarians, and Equestrian facility management experts who will serve to bridge the gap between County staff and the horse community, and to work together on the creation of a reasonable Equine Zoning Ordinance for our County.