NORTH TUSTIN : Supervisors Vote to Close Horse Trail

The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to shut down an equestrian trail in the Peacock Hills area near North Tustin after homeowners complained that it attracted vandals, arsonists and even "peeping Toms."

But others argued that the 1,100-foot-long trail should remain open to area horse riders. They complained that the homeowners along the trail had illegally blocked the path and then said it should be closed because no one ever used it.

Cyrus Afrasiabi, whose home borders the trail, told a public hearing before the supervisors that people using the trail had vandalized his home, thrown rocks and bottles at it, and once set it afire, causing $14,000 in damage.

"Prowlers are at our doorstep," another resident complained, adding that teen-agers drank beer along the wooded trail and at night it "turned into lovers' lane." But Neil Harkleroad, representing the Foothill Communities Assn., said 300 signatures of people opposed to closing the trail were presented to the supervisors.

"We agree that the trail is obstructed," Harkleroad said. "However, the (Environmental Management Agency) has known for years of the obstructions, and we have asked that the obstructions be removed and they have not," Harkleroad said.

He added that it is unfair to close the trail because no one is using it when it is closed by obstructions.

Brian Thereault, who lives near the trail, contended that he used it often. "Since the beginning of the year, it has been blocked because of construction sites and heavy equipment that has been parked there," he said.

Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, whose district includes the trail, called the path a "horse trail to nowhere." He said the trail was "obsolete and particularly hazardous."

After a lengthy study, Vasquez said, the Environmental Management Agency concluded that the trail should be closed.

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