The upcoming elections will test whether the horse community can propel our political advocates over the top. Sometimes it takes just a few votes to make the difference, and horse people have proven they can deliver. Why is that? Well, the horse community, with over 100,000 members in Arizona, has wealth, power and a high percentage of voters. Horse people don’t get kicked around. We defend our rights, our trails, and our culture. We build parks, have youth programs, and memorialize those who are lost. In short, we are people of all makes, models, colors, and temperaments. If we were counted as a “Gang” we’d be the biggest in the state. We’ve been under attack for decades by land developers, zoning departments, and hippies that grew up to become bureaucrats. We learned to defend ourselves, and put our people in political power. Did it in the 1960’s and we are doing it today.
|Left to Right: Doug Huls, Jeff Abbott AzQHA; Taryl O’Shea, AHAA; Scottsdale Vice Mayor, Dennis Robbins; City Manager, David Richert; WestWorld Manager, Brian Dygert;Scottsdale Mayor, Jim Lane; Councilman, Ron McCullagh; Councilwoman, Lisa Borowsky; Craig Jackson and Councilman, Robert Littlefield|
The power of the horse community in Arizona for over three decades has been reflected in the sheer size of Bridle & Bit. Simply put, we are usually the largest size, by page count, of any magazine or weekly in Arizona. Horse people have the power of the press, yet the true power of our community rests in the people and their political representatives. We must preserve what we have, defend what we need, and fight for what we want. To continue to do that job it is top priority to re-elect Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek, and State Representative Heather Carter. Both have served us very well. Andy is the veteran that has reshaped the landscape for the horse community in zoning. Heather is the freshman legislator that passed the most sweeping agriculture tax bill in 30-years that directly benefited commercial horse ranches by designating them agriculture. It was a grand-slam for the gamey ASU professor, turned political heavy weight. Heather is a life-long horse woman who put it all on the line politically to get that bill passed, and in doing so gained a lot of respect from those within and out-of the system. She is definitely top-of-the-class for freshman legislators and she deserves another go-round.
It was Andy Kunasek that led in the political process that enabled almost everyone with an acre in Maricopa County to be able to board horses, have small events at their houses, and not be harassed by zoning, all without any permits. Yes, he led; hundreds fought when called upon to go to the meetings and we won! He and the other Supervisors saved us from a mean-spirited couple in New River that had turned in countless families for boarding without a commercial use permit. It was unbelievable, the bad-blood ran down the streets. Yea, and then when zoning started jerking people around in New River about fences, preexisting buildings, and set-backs it was Supervisor Kunasek who invested two-years of his life working to fix it. That is what he did, and boy did he get the changes passed fast.
Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek has been busy over the past two years working to improve and protect our rural, equestrian lifestyle. He is well respected and has held the reins of power. As Chairman of the Board in 2011 he initiated a regulatory reform effort at the Planning and Development Department to implement common sense relaxation of many codes and regulations that help the horse owner in particular.
It is a fact that Supervisor Kunasek has implemented changes that greatly increase our ability to utilize our horse properties with more flexibility on where we can place sheds, barns, mare motels and corrals. More importantly, Supervisor Kunasek has cut down on the red tape. His changes include the following:
-- A permit is no longer required for a building less than 200 sq. ft.
-- A permit is no longer required for temporary pipe-rail and similar fencing. The previous requirement for a special zoning clearance for any fencing used as a horse corral has been deleted.
-- The minimum required side yard setback for detached accessory structures is now only 3’. It was previously 30’.
-- There is no longer a required minimum separation between a residence and its accessory buildings or between accessory buildings. It was previously 15’.
-- The location of buildings and structures erected prior to 2000 are grandfathered with regard to zoning and drainage requirements. The grandfather date was previously 1969.
-- Farm operations, including roadside stands, are now permitted on any parcel that meets the one acre minimum lot area.
-- It’s my understanding there is a pending code amendment to raise the maximum allowable fence height from 6’ to 8’.
-- The Planning & Development Department is continuing this regulatory reform effort started by Supervisor Kunasek with an emphasis on the least amount of regulation necessary to ensure the public health, safety and welfare.
I certainly think they’re headed in the right direction.
We firmly believe that Steve Chucri will make an excellent Maricopa County Supervisor. Steve’s background in hospitality in Arizona is a perfect fit. And he’s a goer, and a doer, with the high-energy game that gets things done. We need Steve to represent our horse community’s interests. He is very well respected statewide. Steve Chucri is endorsed by Senator Jon Kyl, Congressmen Jeff Flake, Ben Quayle, David Schweikert, Paul Gosar and Trent Franks, Senate President Steve Pierce, House Speaker Andy Tobin, State Treasurer Doug Ducey, County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Attorney General Tom Horne, Mayors Scott Smith of Mesa, John Lewis of Gilbert, Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler, Scott LeMarr of Paradise Valley,. Steve’s also endorsed by Mayor Vincent Francia of Cave Creek and Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale; and Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek.
If you ever doubted the power the horse community in Arizona, drive over to WestWorld and view the superstructure starting to rise out of the Equidome. Who are the players that made that $42 million dollar investment possible? It’s a surprisingly long list, worthy of a full two-page spread. At City Hall this was always a Bob Littlefield project that got bigger as more stakeholders signed on. Mayor Lane made the task tougher by forcing staff to review the numbers over and over. I appreciated the hard-look, because this is a huge deal. It was Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky, a non-pro cutter, who is as handy on her horse as she is the courtroom, or city hall, that pushed hard. She spurred when needed and held back as required.
Vice Mayor Dennis Robbins wanted to explore other funding mechanisms (taxes). But, once the “Free-Slice” momentum was going it was a party that could not be stopped. Very smart political maneuvering and without Barrett-Jackson it would not have happened. The squeeze play was that the gazillions they raise in Scottsdale bed tax is separated into like five ‘Slices,’ and this project needed two. Which, by Scottsdale’s earlier decree, no project was ever supposed to get. We needed Craig Jackson and his “Slice” to make it happen. I know Craig and his team made the right choice. Craig and his family have been riding horses in Scottsdale for over 50 years. Shelby Jackson is very active in showing horses.
We were concerned the costs of the $42 million would bleed through to the horse tenants. After understanding the “Free-Slice” concept of funding it was all-you-can-eat. Now we can have it all. Rates will go up, but they are very reasonable. More about that next month!
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