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At a June 19 public hearing, property owners adjacent to the Grays expressed concerns about everything from possible overgrazing and issues with waste storage to the potential roadblocks when they try to sell their homes.
A lot of opposition came from residents at a nearby townhome development. Townhome association treasurer Joe Michels said residents were concerned about how things like waste runoff, smell and noise might affect the neighborhood, where leisure time is often spent outdoors.
At an Aug. 7 planning commission meeting, Michels told commissioners that the Grays’ property line is about 150 feet from the development.
“I realize that the horses are going to be a little bit farther away,” he said, “but it’s very, very close.”
Nathaniel Gray attributes opposition to the stable to an overall climate shift in Savage — what he sees as a move toward a more urbanized environment.
“Like Bloomington-lite,” he said.
The Grays bought their house because the area is zoned to allow for horses.
Savage requires two acres for one horse and one acre for each additional horse, up to five. With about 3.5 acres of land, the Grays just qualify.
Michels said the townhome association is going to informally recommend that the city change its acreage rules to include the word “grazeable.” With that caveat, a property like the Grays’, with its steep back yard slopes included in the 3.5 acres, wouldn’t qualify.
“I think the city was unprepared to deal with this,” Michels said.
The Grays are now looking on the outer edges of the metro for a place to relocate with their two young sons — somewhere like Jordan, Belle Plaine or Minnetrista. Nathaniel Gray said the whole experience was confusing and frustrating and has diminished his faith in government.
“People are not prepared sometimes for the bureaucracy that gets thrown at them,” Wagner said.
Emma Nelson • 952-746-3287