Despite hundreds of letters and thousands of supporters on social media, a beloved horse ranch in Garland is closing.
The City Council voted in favor of a proposal to rezone 28 acres of the Merriwood Ranch for a housing development.
Staff and riders at Merriwood had been fighting all summer to keep it open.
"We were crushed because it was so close," riding instructor Polly Whittle said. "That's what's breaking our hearts, it's that one vote and we would have had it."
With the split 5-4 decision, the riding ranch for girls will close after 57 years in Garland.
"The kids are really down," Whittle said. "I think that they're all very disappointed. In their mind, there's no way we could lose. We knew going in what we were up against."
The zoning change allows a developer to build about 40 homes on the land the ranch sits on. The zone change means the land will go from agricultural to residential use.
The developer bought the 28-acre property after it was put up for sale this year by heirs of the owner and founder of Merriwood, who died last year.
"Somebody had to lose," said Councilman Tim Campbell, who brought up the motion to pass the zoning change. "Unfortunately, there, somebody couldn't win everything. Nobody could be a complete winner."
More than 380 people wrote letters and emails, hoping to save the ranch. The Save Merriwood Ranch Facebook page has more than 1,500 fans.
Despite having an army of supporters, the council said ultimately the proposal met the city's zoning requirements for using the land.
In July, the Garland Plan Commission had voted down the proposal, but the developer appealed and it was brought before the council.
"Our responsibility as doing our duties for the city as council members is to evaluate the zoning request on its own merit -- that's our responsibility under state law," Campbell said.
Now, 50 horses and dozens of girls are trying to find a new space, as Merriwood's lease expires at the end of the year.
Still, the ranch said it didn't want to quit without putting up a good fight.
"Merriwood is the family that it is," Whittle said. "We are so tight-knit and so close. I think that we'll just find a different place to be, and we'll move our family there and our horses, and we'll just pick up and keep on going."