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Afton reins in River Valley Riders

The River Valley Riders have been reined in for the time being.

The group's proposed outdoor riding facility in Afton was remanded to the Afton Planning Commission by the Afton City Council during its March 17 meeting.

RVR is a non-profit corporation that provides horse-related activities, including therapeutic riding and driving to children and adults, by addressing needs in the areas of physical, sensory, neurological and mental health

At the March 2 meeting of the planning commission, the proposed outdoor arena got the green light from commissioners to move forward with their conditional use permit application to construct an outdoor riding arena, parking area, a small shelter, fencing, outdoor lighting system and outdoor bathroom facilities in Afton.

But shortly thereafter, the applicants requested they be sent back to the planning commission due to some changes to their application.

Initially, the applicants proposed to build the temporary outdoor riding arena near the front of the property, a 38-acre lot located south of I-94 on Neil Avenue.

After receiving bids, however, they decided to build the outdoor riding arena towards the back of the property where the permanent facility is to be located.

This application is only the first phase of the entire project. The group plans to construct a more permanent facility at a later date since they are currently operating out of the Washington County Fairgrounds.

The long-term plan, proposed to be completed by 2013, will consist of an indoor housing and riding area, a septic system, a residence for the caretaker, stables to board a maximum of 15 horses and fencing for horse pastures.

This change comes with the satisfaction of the adjacent property owners who voiced concerns about the outdoor lighting and accompanying noise.

The planning commission will discuss this revised application at its meeting on April 6.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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