Trouble at the ranch as 70 horses face eviction - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Trouble at the ranch as 70 horses face eviction

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - At least 70 horses are facing eviction at a South Bay horse ranch.

A court battle over the zoning of the property in the Tijuana River Valley may leave dozens of horse owners searching for a new place to shelter their horses.

Tim Downing runs Downing Stables in the Tijuana River Valley, boarding more than 70 horses, who may soon have to find another home.

"It's just not right. The people are fed up with this," he said.

That's because the owner of the land he leases from, Maria Corral, remains in a fierce battle with the city over a series of code violations she pleaded guilty to in 2009, including unpermitted septic and water systems and the unsanitary accumulation of animal waste.

"We've been here for years and years and now they want to close this area," a horse owner said.

While horse stables have remained on the property for decades, Corral's lawyer Brien O'Meara says his client must now pay for a series of zoning studies to re-zone the land to allow for stables at an estimated cost of $200,000.

"They also said she would have to put in sewage, curbs on both sides of the street, fire hydrants. We estimate that would be half a million to $1 million," O'Meara said.

A price Corral could unlikely pay, but the real cost may be to the horses.

"It would be very devastating," horse owner Janet Herbrook said.

"A lot of us are on fixed incomes. We can't afford to go to Del Mar or Rancho Sante Fe and board up there," horse owner Crus Mayop said.

As for the city, it says that since Corral was placed on probation for the code violations, she has had her probation revoked twice for violating the terms of her probation, but also says there is nothing further to comment on regarding the court proceedings of this case.

Corral was originally fined $4,000 and also had to reimburse the city's investigative costs, which exceeded $2,800.

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