County eases rules for horse owners, stables

By Sarah Sapeda,

City News Service

Wednesday, Sept. 11—

San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 today to restructure fees and regulations for boarding horses by instituting a four-tiered system meant to help cut costs to equestrians.

“San Diego County is horse country,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said. “And there is a domino effect of the economics of the horse industry — people need to buy feed, and they need veterinary services and they need saddles and other kinds of equipment.”

The vote calls for zoning changes, primarily in the unincorporated parts of the county. Permits and fees will now be based on the number of horses boarded. Before, a major use permit was required for any size stable in some areas.

No permits or fees are required for the least restrictive tier, which allows for giving riding lessons and for boarding up to three horses that do not belong to the property owner.

The second tier, allowing for up to 50 horses with 10 per open acre, will require a ministerial zoning verification permit and a fee of $1,023.

County officials said most commercial stables would fall under this tier.

For a third-tier permit, allowing for 50 to 100 horses, an administrative permit is required.

A major-use permit would be required for more than 100 horses, or more than 10 per acre, and existing fees and deposits would be unchanged, according to county staffers.

“In the end, these changes equate to a streamlined process which will lower costs to the consumers while still ensuring any new or expanded stable will not adversely impact the surrounding properties,” Jacob said.

Stables in existence before 1978 are exempted from the changes made today.

Stakeholders and governmental officials spent about two years coming up with the zoning changes.

The board voted unanimously to waive $116 fee for plan checks and a $312 fee for a building permit for disabled veterans to modify their homes with wheelchair ramps.

The new rules take effect in 30 days.

   
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