GOSHEN — A husband and wife who have been working with competitive racehorses for the past seven years in the northern part of Elkhart County will not be allowed to bring more animals onto their property for training and racing.
The Elkhart County Board of Zoning Appeals denied a request from property owner Sujely Borjas on Thursday, May 16, to allow horse owners to bring their animals to her racetrack for training and testing speed, agility and performance.
Borjas secured a special-use permit in 2005 that allowed her to keep up to five horses, 15 cattle, 10 goats and 10 chickens on her property at 50739 C.R. 11 in Elkhart south of the Michigan state line. She applied for an amendment to the permit to allow horse racing and training.
Though Borjas said she has never had a problem with her neighbors, many of the nearby property owners who spoke at Thursday’s hearing had a different story to share with the BZA. Neighbors complained about traffic, loud music and large crowds of people visiting Borjas’ property. They also voiced concerns about safety and questioned having an agricultural business so close to a residential area.
Borjas told the BZA members that she lost her job two weeks ago, so her horse training business has become her family’s sole source of income.
“If we can’t continue doing this, this property will go into foreclosure,” she said. “There is no way that anybody would give me the money we invested in this property.”
Borjas had requested to operate the racetrack one or two Saturdays a month from April to October.