FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- Larimer County comissioners set the stage for adoption of new horse boarding stable land use rules Monday night, promising that the current proposal, if approved, would be reviewed again in a year.
"Let’s do a review of this in a year," said commissioner Steve Johnson in opening remarks for the Monday night hearing. "We realize we may need to do some adjustments."
Current regulations call for anybody boarding more than four horses to undergo "special review" of their property, an expensive process Johnson called "burdensome."
"We realize that horses are very important to Larimer County," he said. "I think it’s important to the rural character of our county."
"Our current codes are untenable. They’re so bad, we don’t enforce them," said commissioner Lew Gaiter. "If a law is so bad that you don’t enforce it, then it’s time to change it."
Public feedback highlights:
"If a facility is doing 40 lessons a week, that begins to feel to like a business that should have some sort of regulation," -- working group member LuAnn Goodyear
"I would encourage you to require the registration certificate for all applicants. It's not a burdensome or onerous procedure. It's an opportunity to say what you’re doing, and to sign your name to it." -- working group member Kathleen Kilkelly
"The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a kid ... You can't get on a horse with those baggy pants and tattoos, and flip-flops don't work very good ... Three of the biggest indoor arenas in this county are for sale, and they're empty ... I think you guys are wide open for a class action lawsuit or something ... I don't want any regulations." -- Gary Gadsby, large stable owner since 1971
"I don’t want these facilities to say, ooh, there’s 10 trainee visits. (And not allow 4-H'ers or Pony Club.) We have a huge, huge number of children that own horses in this town." -- stable owner Debbie Dehn, asking for protection for stables that host youth organizations, and charge a small maintenance fee
"Just living in Larimer County, 4-H is a big deal." -- stable owner Bob Dehn
"I think we should treat all farms and horse properties the same. They all make the rural county rural. It would be best to treat everything (all stables) as that, as agriculture, as rural." -- Mike Sutak
"I live here because I want to. I live here because I do not want to live in Weld County. I choose to live here. It's a code that's worth accepting." -- working group member Dennis Goeltl
"Please remember that it is an agricultural activity, and that we as landowners are helping to maintain the open atmosphere of this county, and it is costing us to do that for the general public." -- working group member Wendy Chase
"If it’s a non-profit, we can handle that with a code interpretation." -- county planning director Linda Hoffman, on how 4-H, Pony Club, and other non-profit activities could be protected under proposed rules
"Larimer County has one of the strongest 4-H programs in the state." -- commissioner Steve Johnson
"These regulations feel like death by a thousand paper cuts to me. I don’t think profit is necessarily evil or dirty. I think it’s fine. If kids are learning something, I think it’s fine." -- commissioner Tom Donnelly
"I still believe that we get our rights from the people, and not the other way around." -- commissioner Lew Gaiter