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A South County horse-riding group forced to relocate because the county took its land will also have to pay the county about $7,500 in fees to reopen.


Brush Poppers, an Arroyo Grande horse-riding club, had its land seized under an eminent domain procedure in 2004 for a SLO County Office of Education facility.


Now they have a new site located about a mile down the road but as far as the county is concerned they’re opening a new facility, not relocating, so they have to pay certain fees.


County officials levied $20,330 in fees on Brush Poppers for building permits and a new conditional use permit. Brush Poppers members appealed the fees to SLO County supervisors on Aug. 11, arguing that the club benefits county residents (Brush Poppers is a nonprofit corporation with a membership of about 60 families) and therefore allows supervisors to waive fees.


While supervisors voted unanimously to waive the conditional use permit fee ($12,830), the club will have to pay the rest. Supervisors Katcho Achadjian and Frank Mecham were ready to give Brush Poppers a total pass on fees, but failed to garner enough support to waive everything.


Despite the fact that Brush Poppers was forced to move by eminent domain, Supervisors Bruce Gibson, Adam Hill, and Jim Patterson said it wasn’t enough to warrant removing all the fees.


Brush Poppers President Jeff Bell told New Times they are taking the decision with an easy gait.


“We didn’t want to be too negative,” he said. “I mean that happened and that’s water under the bridge.”


Bell said he hoped to have a new arena open in about a year.

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