By SHERIDAN ROY
The Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved a renovation and expansion project for an existing horse farm on Laning Street, KD Equine. The property has been in the family for 100 years, and the buildings have become dilapidated and unsafe for the horses.
Dennis Dombroski presented the application and spoke on behalf of Paul Greenleaf, the owner of the property. The request was to eliminate the current buildings and build a new facility.
“For healthy horses, they need to be exercised daily, even in inclement weather in order to give proper lessons and to board horses,” said Dombroski. “They need to be worked in a safe manner, thus, the need for the indoor arena and barns facility.”
There are currently 19 horses housed on the property. Right now, there is no indoor facility for the horses. Katie Bogaert, operations manager, said KD Equine is not looking to add any more horses—just provide the indoor facility for the horses’ well-being.
The indoor facility would not include a spectator area, such as stadium seating. Up to five horses may be in the ring at one time.
The property also features a home in which a farm hand is planning to live. The house is to be updated in keeping with the nature and characteristics of the property.
Issues of dirt entering the street was addressed.
“With the new design plans, we plan on addressing a lot of the drainage problems that exist,” said Dombroski. “For over 15 years, this property has been neglected. Katie and her staff are constantly on site and looking at these things to address.”
Bogaert noted the amount of manure on the site would not change.
“We have been in contact with the USDA regarding a composting area so that it will be repurposed to topsoil,” said Bogaert.
Bogaert began leasing the former Greenleaf Bros. stables over the summer after moving KD Equine from Meriden. She has extensive experience in horse practicing, according to Dombroski. He said the way she runs the business is the “utmost of professional.”
Clients of KD Equine range from four years old to 90. Dombroski said the renovation would feature benefits to the town.
“This will be the only state of the art facility like this for those in the vocational agriculture program,” he said. “Ms. Bogaert is looking to develop different programs with the schools to accommodate that.”
The business would use full cut-off lighting to preserve the night sky. There are no loudspeakers—occasionally staff will use a megaphone in the arena.
The project was approved unanimously with a number of stipulations, including unobstructed fire department access roads with all-weather driving surface, engineering and planning memos, lighting details complying with dark sky, and willingness to work with town staff.
“This is a long-standing family that has owned this piece of property, and I trust they have the best interest in the town and that specific part of the town at heart,” said PZC member Rob Hammersley (R). “I’m sure they’ll work in light of that with the town. I think it’s good to move forward.”
PZC chair Mike Del Santo (R) noted the importance of farm land to the town of Southington.
“We don’t diminish that,” he said. “This is a fantastic proposal and will be a successful part of the town.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.