County looking at riding arenas

Red Deer County is expected to review how riding arenas fit into land use bylaws.

Red Deer County is expected to review how riding arenas fit into land use bylaws.

The riding issue arose on Tuesday when the municipal planning commission reviewed an application by Dale and Christine MacIntosh for an existing riding arena with stables for boarding horses at a rural site seven km east of Red Deer.

After planning staff reviewed the application, they determined the riding arena should be treated as an “intensive recreation” use rather than as a farm building.

However, the planning commission, which is made up of members of council, disagreed.

The commission rejected the need for the application and said the riding arena could continue as a permitted use under the Land Use Bylaw for agriculturally zoned land, said Nancy Lougheed, the county’s legislative services manager.

It was pointed out that the riding arena contains no bleachers and no horse shows are proposed.

Lougheed said the county is planning to review its Land Use Bylaw and how to determine when a riding arena and stables should be considered a commercial operation requiring additional approvals is expected to be on the table.

A number of residents had expressed concerns about the arena, fearing it would increase traffic and noise and could have an impact on water supplies.

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