fbpx
Busy Byerly: Golden Ocala and World Equestrian Center Deserve Our Thanks

Busy Byerly: Golden Ocala and World Equestrian Center Deserve Our Thanks

Over the past several months, Horse Farms Forever shared our concerns about the proposed changes to 275 acres in the Farmland Preservation Area with representatives of Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center. These proposed changes could have set in motion a ripple effect to wear away the boundary of the Farmland Preservation Area.

With the tremendous outpouring of support from horse farm owners and the community, our concerns and shared voices have been heard. Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center has agreed to withdraw their request to move the boundary of the Farmland Preservation Area on 118 acres in Area 1.

In addition, Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center has agreed to limit the commercial uses allowed on 157 acres in Area 8 to equestrian specific uses and to reduce the amount of land available for commercial use to a 35% floor area ratio, or up to 55 acres. The list of equestrian uses is more restrictive than what is already allowed in Marion County’s comprehensive plan.

With these two changes to help respect the Farmland Preservation Area, Horse Farms Forever offers our full support for Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center’s land use amendments to develop the World Equestrian Center into a world-class destination.

The additional changes to their 4,200-acre Development of Regional Impact are within Marion County’s Urban Growth Boundary and do not directly impact the Farmland Preservation Area.

The World Equestrian Center will bring enormous vitality to our horse industry and economy. In the decades to come, the vision to build the World Equestrian Center will dramatically impact this community in many positive ways. It will be a significant driver of the economy and will cement our region’s global brand as the Horse Capital of the World. This growth, if managed well, will enhance our quality of life.

Our future, and the future of the World Equestrian Center, depends on preserving the land for horses. Without the land, there are no horses.

Now that the threats to the Farmland Preservation Area have been removed, let’s join our voices to thank the leadership of Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center for creating the right kind of ripples in our community, building a thriving and robust horse industry in Marion County.

The community came together to join Horse Farms Forever protecting the integrity of the Farmland Preservation Area. Now, now let’s stand together again with Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center at the May 28 Marion County Commission meeting and advocate for the approval of their amendment to the comprehensive plan. We thank them for listening to our concerns and agreeing to join us in safeguarding the Farmland Preservation Area.

Busy Byerly

Busy Shires Byerly is director of conservation strategies for Horse Farms Forever.

Thank You, GO-WEC!

Thank You, GO-WEC!

May 20, 2020

Horses, horse farms and the horse industry create the character and culture that define Ocala/Marion County. The vision and mission of Horse Farms Forever is to ensure this ‘sense of place’ is protected for future generations, especially the Farmland Preservation Area located in northwest Marion County.

One of the most exciting developments in the equine history of the county is the upcoming opening of the World Equestrian Center. This massive private project focused on sport horses will truly solidify Ocala/Marion County as the Horse Capital of the WorldÒ.

Recently, we expressed our concern about two proposed changes to the Farmland Preservation Area that were included in the amendment to the County’s comprehensive plan requested by the Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center organization. The first request was to move the boundary of the Farmland Preservation Area on several parcels on County Road 225 A. The second request was to apply a newly created land use designation called WEC to rural property inside the Farmland Preservation Area on the west side of NW 100th Avenue.

Horse Farms Forever was able to reach an agreement with the leadership of the GO-WEC organization regarding our concerns and as a result of this agreement, we will be enthusiastically advocating for approval of the revised amendment. This agreement will preserve the Farmland Preservation Area boundary and permit only equestrian-related uses on the property located within it.

As often happens when there are different opinions, a collaborative focus can bring alignment to positions. In this case, both parties sought to better understand each other’s position. In the end we felt like our goals were accomplished and we stayed true to our mission, as well as continued our support for the World Equestrian Center.

We thank the Golden Ocala-World Equestrian Center leadership for listening to our concerns and agreeing to respect the integrity of the Farmland Preservation Area. We express our appreciation to the Roberts family for their incredible investment in the community, especially the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club and the World Equestrian Center.

We also thank them for continuing as Founding Members of Horse Farms Forever.

The Board of Directors

 

 

Nick de Meric Advocates Drawing A Line in the Sand

Nick de Meric Advocates Drawing A Line in the Sand

The Farmland Preservation area must be protected from unchecked development. We thank Manuden Farm, Eclipse Training Center and de Meric Stables and Sales for standing with us as we defend the Farmland Preservation Area from roadway and development threats. Here is Nick deMeric’s letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

Ocala has earned its moniker as the Horse Capital of the World® through a strong and diverse equine industry firmly rooted in the rolling farmland of Marion County. It is well known that the area boasts the best back-up services available anywhere, with feed companies, equine clinics, tack stores, blacksmiths, veterinarians, competition facilities and sale companies that are second to none. Most important of all, however, is the outstanding farmland that comprises a large percentage of the county, situated above mineral rich soil and the pristine Floridan Aquifer System. Blessed with a climate that is the envy of the continent, the combination for raising and training horses is unique and unbeatable.

Manuden Farm, Eclipse Training Center and de Meric Stables and Sales strongly support Horse Farms Forever in its quest to preserve our precious farmland for generations to come. There is little doubt that unchecked development has been a hallmark in much of the state. Protecting the Farm Preservation Area from urban growth has become a line in the sand that should not be crossed, a sentiment that has garnered strong support from all factions of the local community. The future strength of our equine industries and the magnetic appeal of our beautiful farmland are dependent on the vision of our elected officials, and we applaud their efforts to defend one of north Florida’s greatest assets.

Kind regards,

Nick de Meric, Owner

Why the Sport Horse Community is Investing in Marion County

Why the Sport Horse Community is Investing in Marion County

The sport horse community is here to stay, investing for the long haul in a place that enables their horses to thrive and perform at their best. We thank founding member Linda Bammann of Laughing Horse Farm, Inc. for her continued support of our mission to preserve the unique environment of the Horse Capital of the World®.
Here is her letter of support:

Laughing Horse Farm

May 17, 2020

To Whom It May Concern,

As an avid sport horse enthusiast, I am adding my support for the thoughtful consideration of the preservation of the Farmland Preservation Area as designated in Ocala and Marion County. The special component of Ocala is the artful melding of all horse sports within a community that respects all aspects of good horsemanship from breeding, raising, training, competing and retiring these special partners after years of service. From world class veterinary and farrier service to exceptional training and competing options, Ocala is second to none in the opportunities it provides for the sport horse participate.

After semi-retiring from a 25-year career in the financial services industry, my husband and I had a choice of many areas to relocate. We chose Ocala because of its special beauty and open spaces where horses could be horses for 23 hours per day. Because of the turn out, peace and quiet of their surroundings and the extraordinary equine support of the community, they can rise to their potential for that one hour per day that they work to excel at their designated sport. Their mental and physical achievements are quite unique in this special place.

The Farmland Preservation Area at the heart of Ocala creates the certainty that this environment will always remain at the core of the horse industry of Marion County. It is the reason that horse owners and equine business efforts are willing to invest in owning, developing and operating horse related activities in this very region. Without it, Ocala becomes one more stopping point in the never-ending journey of horse shows and horse activities. This is not the fabric that Ocala represented to us when we first moved and invested in our community.

For this reason, I was excited to become a founding member of Horse Farms Forever. The education of and efforts towards preserving our equine community for generations to follow allow me to know that this very special melting pot of equine activities will always be appreciated and preserved.

Please do everything you can to preserve our special Farmland Preservation area as it exists today and resist the temptation to allow an erosion of its core principle. Having lived in New York City for many years in my career, I always marveled at the foresight of the city planners that allocated and preserved Central Park in the middle of that sprawling metropolis. Please do whatever you can such that someday people will marvel at your foresight to have preserved such a special part of the equine fabric of Ocala and Marion County.

Very best regards,

Linda Bammann

Owner of Laughing Horse Farm, Inc.

 

Always Watching

We work hard to keep you informed, and to represent our members’ interests in preserving our horse farms, farmland and the unique character and culture of Marion County.

Join the herd. Every voice matters.

Glen Hill Farm Calls on Elected Officials to Stand Firm on Farmland Preservation

Glen Hill Farm Calls on Elected Officials to Stand Firm on Farmland Preservation

Thank you, Glen Hill Farm, for pointing out how inextricably linked are the Marion County economy and the existence of horse farms. One third of our economy is equine. We join Glen Hill Farm in calling on our elected officials to do the right thing for the land and future generations.

Always Watching

We work hard to keep you informed, and to represent our members’ interests in preserving our horse farms, farmland and the unique character and culture of Marion County.

Join the herd. Every voice matters.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]