By Robin Joy Maxson
An important milestone in the county’s project of updating the Equine Ordinance began the week of Jan. 28.
Public feedback on the Draft of the Equine Ordinance and the accompanying Environmental Impact Report is being sought.
You can review the documents on the county’s Equine Ordinance and Information website: sdcounty.ca.gov/pds/advance/Equine.html.
This update to the Equine Ordinance is long overdue and originally went into effect in 1978.
A few highlights of the draft ordinance are: clarification between those with horses for private use — “horsekeeping” — and those with horses for commercial use — “horse stables”; redefining what is a pasture and what is an animal enclosure (setbacks differ); the number of equines permitted per acre; the size and number of barns and agricultural storage buildings allotted; and clarification on Farm Employee Housing.
The draft ordinance supports the introduction of a tiered permitting system for horse stables similar to the tiered system utilized for wineries.
There will be a new permit level, “Zoning Verification,” that is done over the counter at the county offices and will be the least expensive of the horse stable permitting options.
Once permits are issued they will stay with the property — after the property is sold. Future owners of the permitted horse stable will not need to reapply.
Carl Stiehl, a member of the county’s department of Advance Planning, has been actively exploring San Diego’s equestrian community to research and solicit feedback on what horsekeeping and horse stables look like and their needs with respect to business viability and zoning. Many equestrian groups and community planning groups have benefited and contributed to this updating process.
In Ramona, the Ramona Trails Association has hosted Carl Stiehl’s Equine Ordinance presentation. I recommend that the Ramona Community Planning Group (RCPG) host a presentation at its next monthly meeting.
Considering the economic impact of the equestrian industry on Ramona’s economy, the RCPG should provide a letter of support for this ordinance to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
For any questions, please contact Carl Stiehl firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robin Joy Maxson is a Ramona resident.