This is the SECOND of two important horsekeeping-related dockets that will be coming before the Board of County Commissioners in early December. Please try to keep the issues separate….. and don’t let your eyes glaze over! We need as many horse people as possible to attend these meetings!
This “Red Alert” pertains to Recommendations on the Boulder County Land Use Code section on Agricultural Zoning.
Public Meeting: Wednesday, December 14, 1:30pm. Planning Commission, Commissioners Hearing Room, Boulder County Courthouse (Pearl Street, Boulder).
The Board of County Commissioners and the Planning Commission will take public testimony on the Boulder County Land Use Code with regard to Agricultural Zoning.
It contains multiple paragraphs potentially limiting the right of people to keep horses throughout Boulder County, specifically:
1) differentiating between Equestrian Centers (for which BCHA essentially wrote the text, back in 1998, and which have worked well for the most part ever since) and a new category called Horse Boarding (which has been a use by right in Agricultural Zoning forever — visualize all the small boarding places scattered around the County).
2) fussing about people who might spend the night in their trailers at competitive equestrian events (perhaps not just competitive ones — visualize a roping/jumping/trail clinic in someone’s pasture somewhere).
3) revising downward the number of horses per acre in the smaller zoning districts (there is currently a “one-half-acre-per-horse” requirement in SR and MF zoning areas, but the County is now asking if this is “enough” space).
4) This document contains other provisions which may affect the equestrian community as well (including accessory dwellings, camps, and farm stands).
There are some potential upside opportunities as well, including:
1) enhancing agritourism (such as farm-based special events, farm stays, and B&Bs)
2) approving farming communities (multiple owners, multiple dwellings, working together on one farm).
You can read the documents here: Land Use Code Agriculture Policies
If more restrictive regulations are approved in the Land Use Code, there may be a dramatic decrease in the quantity and diversity of horse boarding opportunities in Boulder County (creating hardship on farmers and higher prices for boarding everywhere). We may end up with more restrictions on multi-day events, and those who live on small acreages may be able to keep fewer horses.
Our position: At this point, we are suggesting that the horse community take a positive approach toward the Land Use Department at this meeting, since they are asking for our input now rather than trying to cram something down our throats. But this process is nearing completion so now is the time to speak up. Please be clear, be polite, and keep this issue separate from the “cropland policy” issue (unless you hope to link them with the possible demise of horses in Boulder County due to simultaneous attacks from multiple directions).
If your horse needs a place to live, or if you have a small boarding operation in Boulder County, or if you just generally support horses in Boulder County…
THIS SITUATION NEEDS YOUR FULL ATTENTION!
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com
Please plan to attend the meeting on December 14 and speak on behalf of horses and horsekeepers! Support BCHA’s position!
(If you absolutely can’t make it to the meeting, please call Abigail Shannon, Planner with the Boulder County Land Use Department, or email her by December 6; and/or call the Boulder County Commissioners at 303-441-3500 or email them ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org)