Paso Robles horse park on pace for planning decision

A new destination for equestrian show jumping could come to eastern Paso Robles if the city’s Planning Commission approves the project tonight.

The roughly 40-acre project, called Paso Robles Horse Park, is slated for approximately 67 acres of open space off Hughes Parkway and Dry Creek Road near the Paso Robles Municipal Airport.

The project features a large grassy field and four uncovered arenas. Public horse boarding, breeding and training aren’t part of the plans, but spectators would be welcome to shows.

Organizers say the park won’t compete with the Paso Robles Event Center, the area’s longtime equestrian venue, because the two sites would feature different types of competitions.

Sanctioned by the U.S. Equestrian Federation, Paso Robles Horse Park would annually host up to eight hunter and jumper competitions, an Olympic sport that involves specific styles of horse jumping with props and fences. The competitions would typically run from January through November.

When it’s not event season, the park would go largely unused with someone onsite to look after the property, according to plans.

For that reason, city planners say the project doesn’t need its own traffic study. But developer impact fees — a form of tax levied on new development — from the project would go toward future improvements to the Highway 46 East and Airport Road intersection.

Water would come from a well on the property, plus tap water from the city hookups for the caretaker facilities and RV camping.

The development features 500 horse stalls for competitors, a hay barn, office, restrooms and caretaker house. Temporary RV camping with water and electrical hookups would also be provided to show participants. A portable event tent would go up for VIP viewing and meals at its grand prix events.

“This is not a competition where we have hundreds of spectators,” project consultant Dave Colmar said. “You have spectators that are usually participants, all people from the horse world.”

Linda Starkman, a horse enthusiast who has a second home in Paso Robles, is the owner of the project. San Luis Obispo-based RRM Design is the architect.

The Paso Robles Planning Commission has the authority to give final approval of the project unless someone appeals the decision to the City Council, according to the city.