Garland Horse Ranch Fights Housing Development Plans

Developer wants use land leased by Merriwood Ranch for single-family homes

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    Merriwood Ranch in Garland has been in operation since the 1950s. A developer now wants to use the 10 acres of green space for a development with 45 single-family homes. (Published Friday, June 28, 2013)

    A Garland horse ranch that has been in operation since the 1950s is fighting plans to use the land for a housing development.

    Merriwood Ranch leased the privately owned land for years until the owners decided to sell it. A developer now wants to use the 10 acres of green space for a development with 45 single-family homes.

    More than 600 people have signed an online petition asking the ranch be kept open.

    "Merriwood is my life," said Hannah Buskin, a child who visits regularly. "I'm here 24/7, every day. The horses here mean so much to me. They're not just any ordinary horses -- they're one of my bestest friends and I just love being with them."

    "Our babies are here, our horses," said Polly Whittle, who has worked for the ranch for years. "There is no other place for us to go that we can have this many horses. It would break the hearts of countless girls and moms and grandmothers."

    The property owner has requested to change the zoning from agricultural so houses can be built on the land. A zoning hearing is scheduled for July 8 so the city can assess if a housing development is compatible with the surrounding land.

    Some residents who live in the area said they are concerned about the environment and want keep the natural habitat.

    "Our concern is with the environment," Lynn Corey said. "There are plenty of homes in Garland. We invite people here, we want you to live here, but enjoy the wildlife and the beautiful treasure that is Merriwood."

    Whittle said the ranch puts a new face on Garland.

    "People from all over the Metroplex come to Camp Merriwood that never have any reason to come to Garland other than they bring their children to Merriwood and, instead of looking like a sleepy residential community, suddenly, Garland means something very new," she said.

    The ranch is ready to clear any hurdles, including using social media and attending the zoning hearing.

    "We've had so many memories here, and I would just hate to see it go," said Buskin.

    The developer did not return requests for comment.