Gate Swings Open On Horse Operation

Gate open again on horse stable permit.This time the Plattsmouth City Council decided to grant a special use permit for horse riding lessons at a stable on lot 23 in Swallow Hills.

(The property is outside the Plattsmouth city limits but within the city’s zoning jurisdiction. Horses and a stable are automatically allowed on the 7-acre property, but the owners, Cheryl Dorff and Scott Gourley, needed a permit for the riding lesson business.)

In January, the Plattsmouth Planning Commission had unanimously recommended approval. Commission Chairman Marc Nichols said the request met all the criteria in the city ordinance.

Two weeks ago, the city council voted 4 to 3 against the permit.

The Cassgram reports several Swallow Hills residents oppose the business and voiced their concerns during the public hearings before the planning commission and city council. There are some who supported the permit application. (previous reports in archives 1/23/13 & 2/5/13)

Since the last meeting, in a letter to the city administrator dated February 13th City Councilman Doug Derby said he reconsidered his February 4th position opposing the permit application and asked that the matter be placed on the February 18th agenda.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Mike Bowman announced that there would be “no comments—pro or con” allowed from the public on the permit issue unless it was “absolutely pertinent new information.” Heather Anschutz walked to the podium and said she wanted to explain why—citing Robert’s Rules of Order—there could not be a motion to reconsider. Pounding the mayor’s gavel, Bowman said he is fully aware of Robert’s Rules of Order and said the reconsideration had been “discussed at great length” and asked Anschutz to be seated.

“I disagree,” said Anschutz, still at the podium. The mayor asked police to seat Anschutz.

Police Chief Steve Rathman and Captain Dave Murdoch positioned themselves on each side of her and asked her to be seated. She stayed at the podium. Rathman and Murdoch then grasped her by her elbows and began to move her back toward her seat. She pulled away slightly. Rathman advised her she could face arrest. Anschutz then seated herself. “Arbitrary and capricious,” she argued from her chair.

Derby made the motion to reconsider. That passed unanimously. So did the new motion to grant the permit. The council made two changes to the restrictions (archives 1/23) suggested by the planning commission. The lessons can only be held Tuesday through Saturday and the city administrator will formulate plans for making the quarterly inspections of the operation during the first year.

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