Wild horses back; fencing surrounding subdivision to be completed in June
Appeal Staff Writer
If good fences really do make good neighbors, the relationship between Santa Maria Ranch developers and area wild horse advocates should improve by the middle of June.
That’s when Santa Maria on-site manager Matt Denio said the fencing along most of the perimeter will be completed.
A new herd of wild horses moved onto the subdivision this week – just four days after Mike Holmes drove them away from the upscale subdivision along Highway 50 in Dayton.
Holmes, program manager for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, has no plans to round the herd up, at least not for now.
“I had a couple calls from people who live there saying they’re back, but I haven’t had complaints about them being on anyone’s lawn,” he said. “If I don’t get any complaints, I’m just going to leave them there.”
Holmes said the horses will keep coming back to the area until the subdivision is fenced.
“No matter what they needed to get the subdivision fenced,” he said. “They’re not going to stay away. They’re going to keep coming back until the fences get put up.”
Denio said fencing along the north section, or front, of the subdivision is complete, as is a three-strand, nonbarbed wire fence along the south section by the Carson River. He said the same wire fence was being built on the west side of the property.
Denio said the wire fencing was temporary, that as homes are built, wood fencing will be put up around backyards. “On the westerly side there are portions of existing fence that we’ve tied into,” he said.
The east side presents more of a problem, Denio said, as it already has a fence on the property that belongs to the county and needs to be repaired. Denio said Wild Horse Preservation League President Bonnie Matton and Vice-president Ed Rector told him they would meet with county officials on repairing that fence.
Denio said fencing began in April and should be completed by the middle of June.
It isn’t coming in time for Matton, who filed a formal complaint against Dayton Land Developers LLC, with the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, Real Estate Division.
Matton said in her complaint that the developers have violated a pledge to repair a fence on the property along the Carson River to keep the horses out of the upscale subdivision along Highway 50, thereby avoiding another roundup.
Two previous herds at Santa Maria were rounded up, one in August and the second in December, after homeowners and workers complained they were destroying landscaping.
Denio said he met with Matton and other members of the Wild Horse Preservation League several times and provided them with a schedule for fence installation.
Matton denies getting such a schedule and said the fence was not up when the complaint, dated May 14, was filed.
“It wasn’t up when the complaint went out,” she said. “The fence had gone up in the front but nothing went up in the back.”
She said her organization has offered to repair a downed fence, but the company declined for insurance purposes.
“The whole issue is that it’s taken almost nine months to get that first fencing,” she said.
She said still in dispute was who would pay to fence 100 feet of NDOT property along the west side of the development to the highway guardrail.
Denio said he was at first hesitant to pay the $100 fee for a permit, because the company had already spent $30,000 installing and repairing more than a mile of fencing to keep the wild horses out. He has since changed his mind and will pay the fee if the Wild Horse Preservation League completes the permit process.
Matton said she was not planning to withdraw the complaint because she felt it was important to keep pressure on the developers.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.
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