Riding arena under new ownership in Vaughn; ZBOA considering two special use permits for the project

A Vaughn equestrian center that had been initially built in violation of state building codes and then changed names several times over the years now has new ownership with plans of sprucing up the place.

It’s long been a problem property for the county, according to planning staff, but Jessica and Dusty Fryberger now own the 180-acre property off U.S. 89 in Vaughn and are working to bring the property into compliance with state and local regulations while also offering horse boarding, events, shows, clinics and competitions.

The property also has indoor and outdoor arenas that are available for scheduled open riding times and facility rental, according to the Fryberger’s website for what is now called 406 Arena.

The Frybergers applied for a special use permit for the project and the county Zoning Board of Adjustment was scheduled to hold a public hearing and vote on the request on Sept. 20.

County planning staff had expected three of the board members to attend the Sept. 20 meeting to make a quorum, since two members had previous engagements. But the third member, Rob Skawinski, didn’t show up and when reached by staff, said he had something come up.

Since a quorum wasn’t present, the public hearing and vote had to be delayed. The ZBOA meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 4 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse annex on 2nd Avenue North.

The owners have two events planned for October and had been hoping to host an open house but all of that is dependent on ZBOA approval.

The Frybergers are hoping to improve the property and drive economic development in the area since events could bring more people to Vaughn who would also spend money at other local business.

Jessica Fryberger said that she and her husband have lived by the property for years and had seen it falling into disrepair.

Now they’re working to clean it up and make it a nice facility available for community use.

“We want to get it back to the best possible shape,” she said.

Area residents have expressed appreciation for the property being used and fixed up, but two have shared concerns about weed management, dust control, the location of the corrals and dike erosion.

They wrote that they would support the project so long as their concerns were addressed.

Michelle Lindgren submitted comments to the county about the dust from arena usage and the prevailing southwest and west winds. The corrals are currently close to a residential areas, including her home, and she would prefer that the new owners consider relocating them.

She also asks the owners and staff to consider fencing or some option for preventing grazing and pasturing on the dike so that it doesn’t erode.

In a separate letter, Brian Lindgren wrote that he had similar concerns and that the new owners “have the opportunity now to undo the lack of consideration and injustice of the prior owners of the neighbors and community surrounding your property and arena.”

He wrote to ask the Frybergers to consider relocating the corrals and the placement of waste. He also asked the new owners to consider options for mitigating the dust caused by the overgrazing that has occurred on the property under previous ownership.

The letters from the Lindgrens are part of the board packet and publicly available in the county planning office.

The Frybergers said they are planning to move the corrals further from the residential area and adding landscaping buffers as well as managing waste to keep the facility functional and pleasing to neighbors.

They’ve also been working on weed management and submitted a weed management plan to the county with their SUP application.

Jessica Fryberger said the area near the levee won’t be grazed.