Barrington Hills panel: Status quo on horse boarding

Barrington Hills’ zoning board Monday unanimously recommended disregarding proposed conditions for the allowance of commercial horse boarding as a home occupation business use.

The board’s recommndation was made on the basis that the conditions would only confuse current debate as to whether commercial horse boarding is permissible at all.

But when the village board meets at 7:30 p.m. next Monday, July 23, its members will be free to act in any way they choose on the proposed change to the village code.

The amendment suggests that commercial horse boarding be allowed as a home occupation use if machinery is operated and nonresidents are on site only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

But some critics argued that it replaces earlier standards that such business uses be invisible to neighbors with far less restrictive ones.

Zoning board Member Kurt Anderson made the motion to recommend dismissal of the amendment, expressing frustration with what he felt was both intentional and sincere confusion over what the amendment would change.

He said that while many residents expressed concern over allowance of an unlimited number of horses on any size of lot, the number of horses residents can keep has never been restricted nor would be by the amendment.

“I’d hate to see the community ripped apart for what, in my opinion, are minor tweaks to an existing amendment,” Anderson said. “I think we’ve provided clarity, but there is a campaign of both disinformation and misinformation.”

Zoning board Chairwoman Judith Freeman said her opinion on the amendment was paralyzed by the fact that Barrington Hills’ comprehensive plan calls for a village that is both equestrian friendly and neighbor friendly.

Resident Jim Drury’s dispute with a neighbor who commercially boards horses in a 60-stall barn near their property line inspired the amendment. Though Drury opposes its passage, he saw the zoning board’s recommendation as barely a minor victory.

While Drury concedes his neighbor can keep any number of his own horses on his property, he said the operation fails as an invisible home occupation business because of the number of nonresidents and their vehicles on his road coming to visit the horses they’re boarding next door.

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