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    [RC] Land Use Policies & Horses - KimFue

        The second paragraph of this post is an e mail I received from an active horsewoman in my area and though this may seem off topic from endurance it really does have an effect our on our sport.  The area discussed in the following letter includes the trails that are used in the Malibu Endurance Ride in Southern California as well as the homes of many endurance riders in the area.    I have no doubt that the policies imposed by the California Coastal Commission as well as the local city (Malibu) and county (Los Angeles) government agencies will influence future policies of the State and National Park Services that control trail use in the Santa Monica Mountains.  From what I understand, it has been an uphill battle to keep the Malibu Endurance Ride even though it has been an annual event for over 20 years.  I know there is a group of riders trying to start a new endurance ride in the Simi Valley/Agoura area and they are finding it almost impossible to work through the red tape of the various government agencies even though there are ample trails/camping/etc. available for a ride.  I know that this particular situation does not have an effect on 90% of you guys on ridecamp since you don't live or ride in the Santa Monica Mountains but it is an example of  how policies can trickle down to cause problems not only for rides but for horse people.  I have lived on my property for 20 years and moved to the area because it was so horse friendly and had lots of trails and parkland.  The trails and parkland are still here BUT there doesn't seem to be room for horses anymore.  All I can say is to give your support to your local groups that not only advocate open space and trails but support recreational activities in those areas.

    --Stephanie Abronson
    reply to stephanie@xxxxxxxxxxxx
    AKE UP!
    By Stephanie Abronson

        A little while back, I wrote an editorial in the Equestrian Trail, Inc.,
    Corral 36 newsletter about what the California Coastal Commission (CCC) is
    doing to all of us.  It's even worse than I originally thought.
         Get a load of this:  The Malibu Land Use Plan, which the CCC is jamming down
    the throats of property owners in Malibu, is a horror of land grab and
    despotism by the Commissioners.  In my opinion it is out and out theft!  It
    is the blueprint for all of the Santa Monica Mountains Coastal Zone,
    including Monte Nido and most of Cold Creek.
         If the Coastal Commission has not already significantly reduced the value of
    your property – your dream home and probably the biggest investment in your
    life – it most certainly will do so in the near future.   This is property
    that you own, on which you pay lots of taxes, where you may wish to add a
    room or remodel a bathroom or kitchen, add a horse corral, or maybe a dog
    run, or plant a garden or an ambitious orchard, or even stepping stones.
    You are now required to have a Coastal Permit to accomplish any of these
    goals to improve your property.  The CCC will say to you that you may do
    these things if you come into “compliance” with their rules.  Their rules
    will claim that your property is in an “Environmentally Sensitive Habitat
    Area” (ESHA – learn this acronym; it is the bane of every property owner in
    the Santa Monica Mountains, and all up and down the entire coast of
    California).  Any property that is located within 200 feet of a stream or
    watercourse in the mountains is in an ESHA.  For those of us in an ESHA or
    an ESHA Buffer, development will not be allowed!  Any development must be
    set back 100 feet from the ESHA.  Development includes buildings, sheds,
    roofs, fences, irrigation, crops, and lighting–anything constructed or
         Want to sell your property and escape this madness?  Fat chance now!  You’ve
    already waited too long.  Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Brokers are not
    going to handle your property for sale unless you provide all the
    “disclosures” concerning the current status with the Coastal Commission.
    You will now be forced to reveal if your property in an ESHA or ESHA Buffer.
    What does this mean to a potential buyer?
    For those of us who are in the Coastal Zone, development will be confined to
    a total “disturbed” area of no more than 10,000 square feet, or 25% of the
    land, whichever is less. Included in the 10,000 square feet are driveways,
    slopes, home footprint, pool, cabana, tennis courts, corrals, guesthouse,
    etc.  A tennis court is 7,000 square feet!  The required fire department
    turnaround is 3,000 square feet.  So what's left for you?
         Want a barn?  LA County requires that you keep this structure at least 50
    feet from any human habitation (including your own), but you must cluster
    all your buildings, and you're probably not going to be allowed a grading
    permit on slopes over 5%.  Coastal requires that you cluster all structures
    within 50 feet of each other.  If you already have structures spread out on
    your property – even if you didn't build them, and they existed when you
    bought your property -- the CCC may require you to dismantle some or all of
    those outlying structures to come into compliance.  To dismantle any thing
    on your property requires a permit. Want to raise a crop of tomatoes, have a
    fruit or avocado orchard, raise grapes and make wine?  Sorry, no.  Your crop
    must be clustered in the “irrigated zone” with your house in that 10,000
    square foot limit.
         Then, of course, you want to insure your property for fire, flood,
    liability.  The fire department will tell you that you must clear brush 200
    feet from any structures.  Your insurance company will tell you that they
    want 300 feet clearance to give you the best price for insurance.  The
    Coastal Commission will tell you that you will be fined by the CCC for any
    brush cleared from your property over the minimum required by the Fire
    Department, because you have removed habitat for wild creatures.  Is this
    some kind of “catch 22?”
         The CCC may not wait for you to go for a permit for irrigation of your
    garden or orchard, your horse corral, your remodel, to cite you for
    violations on your property.  Just ask a bunch of neighbors who have been
    cited by the Commission for improvements to their properties.
        And we all thought we had the constitutional right to own property and
    pursue happiness!
         What can we do about this travesty?  WRITE LETTERS, and let our governor and
    speaker of the assembly know what we want.  GIVE MONEY to the Recreation &
    Land Use Preservation Foundation and Land Use Preservation Fund for legal
    defense.  The Recreation & Land Use Preservation Foundation will do the
    legal, technical and scientific research.   The Land Use Preservation Fund
    will fund the grassroots and professional advocacy.  Please don't
    procrastinate!  Mail your donation to RECLUP Foundation: 26500 W. Agoura
    Road, Box 457, Calabasas, CA 91302.