A Red Deer County horse facility can saddle up.
The county’s municipal planning commission approved a development permit on Tuesday for a riding arena, stables and training facility on 155 acres, eight km east of Red Deer.
The application by Meadow Green Stables was greeted with some concern from neighbours. Five letters of concern were sent to the county.
There were fears that Range Road 262, which leads to Meadow Green, cannot handle increased traffic and could cause safety and dust issues. Others raised concerns about water, waste management, noise and quality of life issues.
Orrin MacIntosh, of Meadow Green, said only five to 10 vehicles will go to the facility at its busiest and there is no camping on site. He does not intend to post a sign on the highway advertising the stables and water use is comparable to a typical family home.
Coun. Jean Bota voted against the application because she believes the access road is not suitable.
“I’m very concerned with the safety here.”
Mayor Jim Wood said concerns have been raised in the past about other horse facilities in the county. Those issues were addressed by putting appropriate conditions on the development permit.
“I would like to see this operation have a chance to, in fact, continue,” said Wood.
Wood noted there are no bleachers planned and there will be no noise from megaphones.
“There is a need for this, a big need for this, in our county,” he said of the facility.
“I think this is a turning point for our county if we don’t allow these types of facilities.”
Several councillors backed an amendment requiring a new traffic impact assessment for the site.
Coun. Richard Lorenz said if the county turns down the horse facility it could have an impact on many other agricultural businesses. Agricultural growth is important to the county.
“I just don’t think the neighbours should be able to shut down these operations,” he said.
The municipal planning commission approved a permit for a facility with up to 50 horses. Among the 19 conditions is one stipulating that no more than 14 clients can be on site during a 24-hour period.
The permit is a temporary five-year permit, which can be revoked if conditions are not met.