Neighbors protest horses on Peak 7
BRECKENRIDGE – Patrick and Gayle Quigley aren’t going to let a few death threats against their two horses get in the way of their asking on Wednesday for a variance to build a home on Peak 7 at the end of the Adams Way cul de sac.The county Board of Adjustments (BOA) will hear the request at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the County Commons near Frisco. The Quigleys need a variance because the property is zoned A-1, which allows one home on 20 acres. The Quigley’s property is 14.3 acres in size.The Breckenridge couple bought the land four years ago in hopes of building a home and a barn for their horses. On the advice of their insurance company, they built a barbed wire fence and posted ‘No Trespassing’ signs around the property.The barbed wire sent a message to the neighborhood and closed off access to a popular trail paralleling South Barton Creek that connects the neighborhood to National Forest.That’s when the sparks began to fly among neighbors.”Someone took one of our ‘No Trespassing’ signs and put on the back, ‘No horse will ever live on this land,'” Patrick said. “They put a pool of blood on the sign and taped a bottle of antifreeze to the fence.”
The Quigleys reported the incident to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and decided to delay construction of their home until they had more money to do so.Now that they’re ready to build, the controversy has reared its head again.The neighbors are opposed to the project on numerous counts, but the primary reason they cite is that that area of Peak 7 is a residential neighborhood not appropriate for equestrian use.”We’re in an area that’s been residential all these years and now we’re asked to have an accessory use that we feel will affect our quality of life,” said Cathy Radueg, who is the de facto spokesperson for the neighbors. “I have a friend who’s looking for a house and she said, ‘Tell me again where that horse property is going to be; I don’t want to buy anywhere near there.'”The neighbors have banded together to protest the variance. And last week, an anonymous person called county planner Lindsay Hirsh to tell him that if he recommends approval of the variance – which he does – he will regret it.If the BOA rejects the variance request, the Quigleys will sell their property.Neighbors are concerned about the potential impacts the Quigley’s two paint horses, Clyde and Cisco, could have on the air and water quality in the area. South Barton Creek runs through the Quigley’s property and up to eight residences are served by wells downstream.
Hirsh recommends the variance include an array of conditions to mitigate any potential impacts. Some of those would require the couple to limit the range where the horses can roam, limit the number of horses on the property to two, gather the manure and dispose of it in a timely manner and monitor well and creek water to ensure the horses aren’t contaminating the water in the area.Unlike most BOA decisions, however, these stipulations would be ongoing and neighbors aren’t sure how they would be enforced.”This is something we’ll have to live with for years,” Radueg said. “If it’s not kept up to standards, it becomes a health, welfare and safety, environmental risk, a nuisance, noise and odor pollution problem.”The lot is steep and dotted with wetlands, limiting the area on which the Quigleys can build.”If you look at the area where the horses will have to be kept, the horses are going to be stabled in their neighbors’ backyards – probably closer to homes than the Quigley’s own residence,” Radueg said. “None of us dislikes horses. A lot of this is people speaking out of concern for the horses.”Other concerns they have include a possible increase in rodents attracted to the area by grain and hay and a possible devaluation of homes in the area. Another is that the fence surrounding the Quigley’s land precludes people from accessing a trail that runs across the property, ultimately hooking up with the Peaks Trail.
According to Hirsh’s staff report, the Quigleys cited liability issues as the reason they aren’t willing to grant an easement through their property for the trail.Patrick, however, said they were willing to have a trail built along the perimeter of their property.”They (neighbors) said absolutely not,” Gayle said. “That’s when we started getting threats.”Both of the Quigley’s admit to being a little scared after all the threats.”But we’re going to ask for whatever we’re entitled to,” Gayle said. “I don’t want to be bullied out of this.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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