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RESEDA : L.A. Proceeds in Suit by Pony-Ride Farm

The city is pressing forward in its legal battle with a Reseda woman who sued the city after it refused to grant her permission to run her pony-ride business.

On Friday, the Los Angeles City Council gave the city attorney the go-ahead to respond to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s order that the city provide better justifications for denying Linda Menary a conditional use permit. Judge Robert O’Brien ruled earlier this month that the city’s explanation of its decision was insufficient.

O’Brien said in his Jan. 3 order that the city focused on whether Menary’s animals should be allowed to be on the property, “a use which is generally proper within the existing zoning,” rather than on the true issue--whether Menary should be granted permission to run her business.

Menary moved her attractions, Rent-A-Pony and The Farm, to 8101 Tampa Ave.--a property zoned for rural or agricultural uses--in December, 1988, after having legally operated them at 8225 Tampa Ave. for 10 years.

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In the elaboration that it will submit to the court, the city argues that Menary’s pony-ride and petting-farm business is incompatible with nearby residences and has caused parking and odor problems.

In her lawsuit, Menary had asked the judge to void the decision denying her the permit and force the city to reconsider. After reviewing the new justifications, the judge may grant or deny Menary’s petition or hold another hearing.

On Friday, Deputy City Atty. Claudia Culling said she felt optimistic about the city’s chances in the case.

“We think we have a good chance of winning,” she said.

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Menary told the council before it voted that her business has adequate parking and that her neighborhood is essentially rural.

“The lots around my farm are of various sizes and uses, the majority of which are zoned (residential-agricultural) and have animal-keeping of all types,” she said.


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