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Woman abandons ranch plan

By Arielle Kass

Staff Writer

arielle.kass@gwinnettdailypost.com

LAWRENCEVILLE - There will be no public address system or outdoor lights at a local ranch after its owner decided to remove her request from consideration.

Mitch Peevy, representing Rancho Alegre on Givens Road in Dacula, said owner Pilar Quintero couldn't get her neighbors to agree to the changes she wanted to make.

"They were pretty adamant," he said. "She was not willing to split up the entire neighborhood."

Quintero was hoping to add a public address system for equestrian competitions, install lights so events could continue past dark, get an extension of the 6 p.m. curfew that limits what she can do on her property and lift a 100-person cap for events.

The request was denied without prejudice at Peevy's request at a meeting Tuesday night. That means that Quintero can ask the county's Board of Commissioners to consider her proposal again at a later date.

A number of neighbors were vehemently opposed to Quintero's proposal at a community meeting in September. Neighbor Bob McLaughlin did not attend the commission meeting where the ranch's fate was decided, but said he was pleased to hear that lights and loudspeakers would not be coming to the property. At the meeting last month, McLaughlin said he was afraid that a successful operation would mean considerably more traffic near his home.

Tuesday, he said the Quinteros didn't have enough room to hold horse shows on their land and that he was worried about the noise and light pollution penetrating his home.

"It's mostly the racket and lights and that sort of thing," he said. "I moved out here for the peace and quiet."

Quintero did not return a phone call seeking comment, but Peevy said she was adamant about doing something with horses on the land - Rancho Alegre is a host farm for the Dacula High School and Middle School equestrian teams, and Quintero owns about 40 horses, including about 15 Paso Finos, which she breeds, on her 36 acres.

As long as fewer than 100 people attend the horse shows and they finish by 6 p.m., Quintero will still be allowed to hold them on her property.

Peevy said Quintero may ask the commission for a permit to install lights or speakers again at a later date. She is continuing to make improvements to the property, he said, and plans to teach children there.

"She's going to operate and show folks she's not the devil incarnate over there," Peevy said. "It's not worth fighting the whole world."