FORT COLLINS, Colorado -- The working group in charge of creating new land use rules for horse facilities recommended cutting application fees in half for existing businesses Tuesday night as part of a “transition program” designed to motivate Larimer County stables to participate in the new rules.
A special land use review currently costs $2,300, plus thousands of dollars in potential consulting costs for information required by the county.
The fee reduction would only apply to stables without any complaints lodged against them, and would only be available for the first year of the program.
Last month the group developed a point system that would assign existing facilities the right to conduct business ranging from use by right to a full-blown special review, with lower scores earning less review.
“What everybody is afraid of is having to spend huge amounts of money for consultants required to go through special review. If we can take out paragraphs that say you must hire an expert, said Joe Andrews. “That is going to solve a lot of those problems.”
The group rejected a “five point carrot” proposed by study facilitator Linda Hoffman that would have allowed existing businesses to subtract five points from their total.
“All of a sudden we’re saying you can have a significant portion more (points) on this property, and to me that doesn’t feel right”, said working group member Jill Cook. “I would prefer having a more streamlined process, or a reduced fee rather than you can do more than your neighbor just because you’ve been here longer. My proposal would be that we cut the fee in half for one year.”
Working group members suggested that the county come up with ways to help applicants with issues normally handled by consultants.
The group, which does not officially vote, gave a “thumbs up” to allowing existing businesses one year to comply with new regulations.
Group members also confirmed definitions for who would be affected by new rules (hover your mouse over bold-faced type for definitions): equestrian operations, equestrian events, equestrian trainees, equestrian pasture boarding, and lesson horses.
The group also adjusted the points system that could be used to determine who would fall under use by right, administrative review, minor special review and special review.
(Calculate what would happen to your unapproved stable by clicking here.)
The formula would work as follows:
- 14 points: Use by right (no filing required)
- 15 – 35 points: Administrative review (a new category with undetermined fees)
- 36 -- 50 points: Minor special review
- 51 or more: Special review ($2,300 + consultant costs)
Under the plan, properties would earn points for the following:
Points associated with size of property
- Less than 5 acres: (10)
- At least 5 acres, less than 10 acres: (8)
- At least 10 acres, less than 35 acres: (5)
- 35 acres or more (0)
- For each additional 35 acres, subtract 2 points
Interactive comment forms on various aspects of the program are available by clicking here.
Previous MyHoofprints coverage: Horse Property Issues.