Rancho residents will have an easier time building horse stables on their properties after the City Council this week approved easing the zoning restrictions.
The changes, which came as the city works on updating the equestrian-centric neighborhood’s master plan, were applauded by residents who had sought to ease certain requirements that made it difficult for some to build their own stables.
The City Council agreed to remove a requirement for specific construction material and deleted a rule that required house windows and doors be separated from stables or corrals by at least 20 feet. — although they must still be at least 10 feet from property lines in the rear 35 feet of the lot.
Many of the speakers who showed up at the meeting at City Hall supported the rule changes.
Calling the amendments “outstanding,” Linda Barnes, a long-time Realtor in the Rancho area, said the previous rules were unclear, making her job more difficult. By relaxing the requirements on materials, pre-fabricated stables — which are less expensive and quicker to put up — can now be used.
In unanimously approved the zoning changes, the City Council on Tuesday also agreed to come back in about two months to continue discussing the process of updating the Rancho Master Plan.
Although the master plan discussion is on hold for a few months, the council directed officials to prepare a pre-application process for developers requesting a zoning code or general plan amendment.
The new process would theoretically provide a layer of protection to the community and lets developers know up front whether their request will be considered or not.
Assistant Community Development Director Michael Forbes said the cost to implement the master plan is about $210,000, including hiring a consultant. But the money won’t be available in his department’s budget for about two years.
While some residents said the amount of money was excessive, others applauded the city for continuing work on updating what they see as additional protection of their lifestyle.
“The community expressed concern about what was going on in the Rancho district and you have responded” with a willingness to explore some opportunities, resident Margaret Taylor said.