San Diego County Equestrian Foundation

Equine Ordinance Committee Announcement

EFHG Town Council FormsEquine Ordinance Committee


By Mid Hoppenrath


There have been complaints over the years that the San DiegoCounty Animal Use ordinances have been unrealistic and have placedinappropriate financial burdens on horse owners in particular. For example,while homeowners in Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove can own horses, many cannot affordto board a single horse for a friend. To do so requires a major use permit,costing over $5,000 just to start the application process! For many commercialhorse training and boarding facilities, the major use permit applicationprocess can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take many, many years.


Because this process is much more reasonable just acrosscounty lines (in LA County, for example, boarding horses requires no permit on5 acres in an agriculture area), some horse owners are leaving San DiegoCounty, which allows many beautiful large parcels to become available for urbandevelopment and robs the County of millions of dollars in equine-relatedbusiness, jobs, expenditures, and taxes. In addition, remaining rural propertyvalues will diminish as horse properties become less desirable in San DiegoCounty.


However, to earn community support for reform of theseordinances, horse owners must maintain attractive horse barns and pasturefencing, follow best management practices regarding stormwater runoff anddrainage, erosion control on slopes, insect abatement, and proper handling ofmanure and soiled bedding. To have sustainable horse keeping in San DiegoCounty, horse owners must be prepared to take responsibility for keeping theiranimals comfortable, their environment? healthy, and their neighbors happy.


To address all these concerns, the San Diego County Board ofSupervisors has directed the Department of Planning and Land Use to develop a newequine ordinance, anticipated to be similar to the recently approved tieredwinery ordinance. The DPLU plans to work with the planning and sponsor groupsto create an ordinance that is appropriate for the entire San Diego Countyarea. With increased privileges will come increased responsibilities. Hereis the link to the County?s brochure on best management practices (BMPs) forequestrian facilities: One of the ideas being considered is avolunteer Equine Advisory Council that would make site visits to help horseowners become compliant with ordinance restrictions. This idea has beensuccessful in other California counties (see video at


To represent Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove in this Countyprocess, the EFHG Town Council has formed an Equine Ordinance Committee.Current members are Nancy Goodrich, Sandra Bartsch, Bonnie Baumgartner, MichellKimball (President, San Diego County Equine Foundation,, Chris Dye, and ShelleyFontaine, with myself as chairperson ( We are interested inour residents? ideas on this issue. Please contact any one of us or any boardmember (contact info elsewhere in this issue) to give us your thoughts.

SDCEF1042-B N El Camino Real, Ste. 414Encinitas, CA Copyright © 2010 SDCEF All Rights Reserved.