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Man appeals ETZ case about horse racing

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Work is ongoing at the Greenfield Road property where a local man is seeking a permit for a horse training center and a race track venue. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A local man’s goal to start a race horse training facility and race track in Chaves County continues, as he has filed an appeal of his zoning case.

Margarito Rodriguez, who lives in Roswell but recently bought about 40 acres on Greenfield Road east of the city, has filed a written notice of appeal of a unanimous decision Nov. 20 by the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning (ETZ) Commission, which denied his application for a special permit to allow him to operate the training business and quarter-horse race track.

“I want to appeal this case because there does not exist a place in Roswell for safe fun with horses and for the family,” Rodriguez wrote in Spanish.

The appeal is scheduled to be heard in late January by the Roswell-Chaves County Extraterritorial Zoning Authority, which consists of two Roswell City Council members and three members of the Chaves County Board of Commissioners.

Rodriguez has said that he intends to hold races once a month or less, but numerous neighbors objected. Thirty-seven people signed a petition against the permit and six spoke at the commission meeting to say they had concerns that their quiet residential and farming area would be harmed by excessive traffic, debris and disruptive behaviors.

County and city planning staff told commissioners that they did not object to the training facility, but could not recommend a racing venue for the area.

Rodriguez indicated at the ETZ Commission meeting that he did not want to proceed with a training center if he could not also hold races.

ETZ Commission members said that Rodriguez can train horses at the property for friends or on a personal basis but cannot make a commercial enterprise of racing or training without the permit.

The ETZ Authority meeting is planned for 5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, at the Chaves County Administrative Center, 1 St. Mary’s Place.