Pleasants Valley riding center improvements receive approval

The Solano County Planning Commission authorized an amended use permit to allow horse shows and facility additions at the Pleasants Valley Riding Arena, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Pleasants Valley Riding Arena/Courtesy photo)

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By Todd R. Hansen
McNaughton Media

Edward and Joetta Griffin will soon be able to hold horse shows at their Pleasants Valley Riding Arena, Horse Boarding and Training Facility.

Last Thursday, the Solano County Planning Commission  unanimously approved the use permit amendment that allows for the horse shows and approves the addition of four accessory buildings and living quarters for one employee.

The 67.64-acre ranch, part of a larger 107-acre site that includes miles of riding trails, is located at 7680 Pleasants Valley Road.

“He’s got a great facility there,” said Vance Mason of Vacaville, whose family traces its ranching heritage in Solano back to 1862. “He does a lot with kids. It is very well set up . . . . It’s just a great facility.”

Mason also noted that the facility is “fire safe,” and defended well against the LNU Lightning Complex Fire so it is a good place for animals to be kept.

Rusty Milliken, son of Joetta Griffin and a part-owner who lives on the site, attended to answer any questions.

The commission asked about entering and leaving the facility and was assured, by Commissioner Kay Cayler, that the gate area into the property is well designed. Traffic also was deemed by county staff not to be a significant impact.

Noise was also a topic that was raised by the commission. In addition to the county conditions placed on the project, the site’s location among hills that separate the ranch from some of its neighbors was described as if keeping “noise in a box.”

The proposal is for horse shows to be held each Saturday from January to May and on Saturdays in September and October, a total of 32 shows that are expected to draw as many as 150 people to each event.

“Horse show events would take place in the existing (14,000-square-foot indoor) arena . . . . Certain participants would stay in the travel trailers or camp on site during the event weekend,” the staff report to the commission states. Additional parking that exceeds county requirements is included in the plan.

The project was flagged by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Service for possible impacts on the habitats of endangered or threatened species such as the Swainson’s hawk, burrowing owl and white-tailed kite, as well as for other riparian and environmental matters, but the county staff believes those concerns have been dealt with by the ranch owners.

The commission adopted a mitigated negative declaration and a monitoring plan as part of the project.

“All mitigation measures, including the monitoring responsibilities, have been incorporated into the project as recommended conditions of approval and in the mitigation monitoring plan. Specific conditions have been included by each division and by the specific agencies responsible for their implementation,” the staff report states.

The additional buildings include a 12,000-square-foot covered riding corral and nine outdoor stalls to be used during the shows in the main arena. Three equipment storage buildings, averaging 1,067 square feet each, and one 800-square-foot trailer or manufactured home to be used as an employee living quarters are part of the plan as well.

The facility received its original county permit in 2010.

“Land use types permitted for the subject property included horse boarding for 81 horses, breeding, riding lessons, horse day camp and agricultural education classes,” the staff report states.

An on-site well provides the water supply and wastewater is treated by an on-site septic system.

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