Horse-training couple wins county approval to add land to Marabou

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow Marabou Ranch Preservation Subdivision west of Steamboat Springs to amend its complex 2006 development agreement in order to add 8.3 acres of land along the north bank of the Elk River to the property.

The HOA and one of Marabou’s homeowners were seeking the change to resolve an awkward legal situation for the HOA, and to allow one of the homeowners to create an apartment in the upper level of the only private barn in the development.

The homeowners are Jeff and Andrea Busby, who purchased a Marabou lot in 2010 and built a home on it. At the time of the purchase, they negotiated with the HOA for permission to build a horse barn and riding ring on a remainder parcel.

Marabou land planning consultant Tom Braun told the commissioners that although Marabou has an equestrian facility, the Busbys are “very active in horse training,” and having their own facility was central to their interest in becoming owners at Marabou.

The Busbys breed and train quarter horses to become champion barrel racing and roping horses in Millsap, Texas, southwest of Fort Worth.

In order to meet the desires of the Busbys during a period when the Routt County real estate market was very slow, the HOA approved of the barn and riding arena, which the Busbys now enjoy the exclusive use of. Although they own the barn, the land remains in the ownership of the HOA, and that resulted in an unintended consequence.

“The Association is currently burdened with the liability risk of having what is essentially a private equestrian center on HOA-owned land, which the Association would like to be relieved of,” County Planner Kristy Winser reported to the commissioners in a recent memo.

In order to help the HOA out of that potential legal pickle, the Busbys acquired 55 acres of land on the north side of Routt County Road 44 comprising lot 7 in the neighboring Gerties Park Exemption subdivision. Of the 55 acres, 8.3 would be attached to Marabou to offset the Busbys' use of the existing remainder parcel, and thus transfer it into their personal ownership as lot B10 in Marabou.

At the same time, the Busbys asked the county for permission to create the second story apartment in their barn. It will not be an accessory unit, but the only residence on lot 10.

Braun touted the new remainder parcel as quality open space that will bring the north bank of the Elk, in addition to the south bank, in that stretch of river within Marabou. He promised that going forward, the HOA will not be creating any more privately owned horse barns.

“We’ll close that door we opened to create this situation in the first place,” Braun said. “We’ll specify that lot B10 is the only lot (at Marabou) that can have a barn.”

Commission Chairman Tim Corrigan endorsed the Marabou solution.

“I think it’s a net gain for the project,” he said. “I’m in favor of it.”

Planning Director Chad Phillips said the amended Marabou development permit won’t be official until the final language is brought back to the commissioners for further approval.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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