Wickenburg P&Z recommends nay for horse facility

By Ron Eland | Wickenburg Sun

It was standing room only last Thursday as the Wickenburg Planning and Zoning Commission decided upon a request to create a horse boarding, training and riding facility.

After more than an hour of public input, the proposal went to the commission for the vote. The commission voted 6-1 to recommend denial of a conditional use permit (CUP) to the Wickenburg Town Council. Commissioner Mitch Jackson was the lone dissenting vote. The matter will be heard before council on a date to be determined.

At hand was an application for a CUP from Larry Les and Sherrie Sommerseth of 690 North Horseshoe Trail. The request is to operate a horse boarding, training, and riding facility on 20 acres of land. The property is zoned R1-35 (single family residential) and such a facility requires a CUP from the Town in order to legally operate, a report states. The property abuts other rural residential land along with the railroad and large tracts of vacant areas to the northeast. The property has a recently constructed single-family home and the equestrian area is mostly constructed. 

 The property owners operate a similar facility in Eatonville, Washington, and would like to do the same here in Wickenburg. The proposal includes two trainers on site to teach western horse riding. The trainers would teach calf starting, barrel horse prospects, finishing work and rope horse prospects. 

 The report goes on to state that the property would not be utilized as a sporting event center. It is a training facility only. Riders attend professionally-scheduled events at public facilities off site. The site will not have loudspeakers or arena lighting. Landscape and yard lighting is minimal onsite and the lighting aims to be compliant with town code. Traffic is expected to be minimal for the neighbors. All driveway areas are hard surfaced and capped with crushed gravel to cut or eliminate dust. 

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