Commercial horse stables and horse-based therapy programs have been proposed near Big Turtle Park in west Oak Ridge.
The Oak Ridge Board of Zoning Appeals will consider a special exception to allow the commercial facility in a residential/open space district on Tuesday, May 11.
The request has been sought by Sean and Sara Pennington, who could buy roughly 31 acres at the end of Hermitage Boulevard for the project. The property is currently owned by the owner of an adjacent single-family lot, Joseph and Tanya Tuminello.
“The stables are intended to board horses and provide people with horse-based therapy programs,” according to a staff report for the zoning appeals board.
The property is south of Oak Ridge Turnpike near the intersection with Montana Avenue and east of the end of Hermitage Boulevard. It’s near the Weigel’s gas station and convenience store and Oak Ridge Sportsmen’s Association.
The city staff has recommended approving the special exception for the commercial horse facility, subject to certain conditions. The staff said the facility will not adversely affect nearby property, and there is “no anticipated adverse impact to surrounding residential uses from the commercial operation of the facility.” Among the conditions outlined in the board’s agenda: No more than three horses are allowed per acre of enclosed or fenced pasture areas that are designated holding areas; no part of any building or structure that houses horses can be closer than 50 feet from any side or rear lot line, or closer than 100 feet from the front lot line; the lot must be clean and sanitary, and free from offensive odors and other nuisances; and there are limits on the size of the building to house the horses based on the legal lot size.
The property and the nearby existing lots on Hermitage Boulevard and Old Hickory Court were originally part of a proposed residential development called Jackson Crossing, the city staff said. Twenty-eight lots on Hermitage Boulevard and Old Hickory Court were platted in 1999, and lots were sold and homes were built. There were plans for 85 more lots and homes on the remaining 31-acre property, which were part of the second and third phases of the residential project. But only one of these lots was ever platted, the city staff said, and the 31 acres remained vacant.
Adjacent to the property is a 7.5-acre site that was called Jackson Village; a planned unit development was approved in 2004, and it included 25 lots/homes, the city staff said. However, the proposed lots have not been developed. This property is not included in the proposed commercial horse facility.
A rezoning application for the 31-acre property was approved by the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission during its March meeting and recommended to Oak Ridge City Council for its approval. The rezoning was from low-density residential to residential/open space. The rezoning request was approved by City Council in the first of two readings, or meetings, in April, and it is pending final approval by City Council during its May 10 meeting.
The Oak Ridge Board of Zoning Appeals will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 11. You can see the agenda here.