Zoning board approves equestrian facility in Green Creek

Published 5:54 pm Thursday, August 7, 2008

At least two other board members said they initially thought the requirement did apply to the proposed facility. But they said testimony during the zoning boad hearings led them to reconsider their interpretation of an asterisk in the permitted use table.

Based on the testimony, the board members concluded the 200-acre minimum applies only to non-profit, private equestrian facilities in residential zoning districts. Since the proposed site for the facility is in the Multiple Use district and not in a residential district, the requirement does not apply, they said.

The proposed Green River Farm facility will be located on a 96-acre tract of Hwy. 9, slightly south of the intersection with Landrum Road.

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Prior to addressing the minimum acreage requirement, the zoning board addressed whether the facility complies with the&bsp; intent of the multiple use district. They determined that it does meet the district&squo;s three-pronged test. Specifically, they said the facility would not injure public health and safety, would not substantially injure surrounding property values and it would be in harmony with the surrounding area.

Although the facility may result in additional traffic, noise and light pollution, and more use of ground and surface water from the area, they said it was not enough to justify denying the permit request.

Roger Smith of Green River Farm requested the conditional use permit for a facility that is expected to include four stables accommodating 125 horses each, ten riding rings, one steeplechase race track and various riding and walking trails. The facility is also proposed to have two arenas and a facility for approximately 30 to 40 recreational vehicles.

Smith, the vice president of Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TRHC), has said he and his wife plan to donate the property to TRHC. He and his wife Jennifer will maintain oversight and approval authority for TRHC&squo;s use of the property.

According to Smith, TRHC plans to move its annual Blockhouse Steeplechase race to the new facility in Green Creek. In addition, the facility may host three or four existing horse shows currently held at other sites in the county, such as FENCE and Harmon Field, and possibly five or six additional equestrian shows and events.

The zoning board&squo;s decision will become final once filed by the board chairman, Paul Weidman. He said any party aggreived by the decision will have 30 days from that time to file an appeal in Superior Court.