Yorba Linda’s equestrian community makes pitch for public stables and arena

by in News

Equestrians in Yorba Linda see 27 acres of city-owned property off Bastanchury Road as their last, best hope for public stables.

To entice broad support, the equestrians are also proposing the city plan the equestrian center as part of a larger park with a slew of other recreational facilities from a dog play area to a splash pad.

Yorba Linda is known for its equestrian lifestyle, but has no public stables and development has reduced the number of privately owned facilities.

“We hope this plan will be thoroughly considered as Yorba Linda is truly at a crossroads with its equestrian heritage,” Tatum Cazin, a student at Yorba Linda High and a horse enthusiast, told the City Council at its May 7 meeting.

The Yorba Linda Country Riders were at the meeting to pitch their vision for how the city’s property should be developed for community use.

The property, between Casa Loma and Eureka avenues, is part of 40 acres that were once going to be Friends Christian High School, but church leaders had to abandon the project. The city is selling 13 acres for housing, but the remaining land is restricted to public use.

The property is one of the last-city owned parcels in Yorba Linda and can easily be linked up with existing horse trails, Dee Dee Friedrich, president of the Yorba Linda Country Riders, said of the group’s hopes future plans for the property can include an equestrian element.

Friedrich, along with fellow equestrians Cazin and Michelle Price, presented their proposal to earmark 10 acres for equestrian facilities, including multiple barns with 100 to 120 stalls total and an arena with concession stands. The Philip Paxton Equestrian Center off Buena Vista Avenue has a show arena, but not place for stabling horses.

Those facilities could be surrounded by parking, ball fields or landscape buffers to control dust issues, they said. The property could also house soccer or multi-purpose fields, a skate park, a dog park, a splash pad or a variety of other recreation facilities to benefit a cross-section of the community, Price said.

Fees the city collects from developers for recreational amenities could help pay for the facility, Friedrich said.

“We’ve had over a 30-year promise waiting for you,” she said of past council’s support of building an equestrian facility. “We would love for this council to be known for honoring this promise.”

Price said the group called around facilities in nearby communities and figure Yorba Linda’s center could generate $50,000 to $70,000 a month by renting out its stalls. Add in renting out the facility for events, and the center should generate enough revenue to have a “minimal fiscal impact” on the city, Price said.

But some nearby residents said at the council meeting they would fight an equestrian center, as they did in 2011.

“We are a golf community,” Friedrich said, referring to the Black and Gold Golf Club nearby. “But we are also a horse community and a park community.”

City Manager Mark Pulone said the city intends to discuss the property’s future once escrow is closed on the 13 acres this summer; the area is expected to be sold to Pacific Cascade Group for $19.2 million to build 23 homes. Citing Brown Act rules that preclude discussion of items not previously on an agenda, no council member commented at the meeting about the equestrians’ pitch.