SOUTHINGTON — Town planners have approved a renovation and expansion project for KD Equine, a horse farm on Laning Street that’s looking to build an indoor arena for year-round training.
Dennis Dombroski, a builder representing KD Equine at the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday, said the property is run down and needs updating for the safety of the horses boarded there.
“For 15-plus years, this property has been neglected,” he said.
Owner Katie Bogaert began leasing the former Greenleaf Bros. stables this summer after moving KB Equine from Meriden. She's hoping to renovate the barn, built in 1810, shoring up some of it and adding indoor riding.
“The horses need to be worked and trained on a daily basis, especially in inclement weather,” Bogaert said.
Several neighbors, including the general manager of the adjacent Rogers Orchards, spoke in support of the farm, saying the horse farm has been a good neighbor.
“That helped me make my decision,” said PZC chairman Michael DelSanto. He and other commissioner members were pleased to see the 16-acre property remain farmland.
“To keep a bucolic setting, I think that’s a good thing,” said commission member Peter Santago.
The commission more frequently hears subdivision plans for housing on former farms.
“The PZC values farmland,” DelSanto said. “We want them to continue running their property as a farm or a horse stable for as long as they need to, because we know what the alternative is.”
The property borders Rogers Orchards and town-owned open space.
Bogaert said the farm will board between 15 and 30 horses at a time. While caring for horses takes place around the clock, lessons and riding usually happens between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The indoor riding arena will allow much of that to take place regardless of the weather.
A house on the property will be used as a residence for a stable hand and an office for Bogaert. Dombroski said that too was in poor condition and will need major renovation.
The land is owned by Colorado residents and brothers Richard and Paul Greenleaf.
Bogaert isn't sure when construction would start. While it would be good to have the indoor space available this winter, it might not be finished in time for snowy weather and it didn't make sense to start only to have to stop mid-winter, she said.