Lake in the Hills finds potential horse stable tenants

LAKE IN THE HILLS – A married couple with horse experience is looking to take over the village’s horse stable property on Pyott Road.

Josiah and Samantha Kitchel want to operate the horse barn property, and in the first year of their lease, complete the stall repairs and general facility cleanup started by Dynasty Farm.

Jennifer Valenti, who manages Dynasty Farm, has told the village she will leave the municipal-owned barn by Dec. 18 because she cannot financially run the business on the property at 1109 Pyott Road.

The Kitchels made one of the 22 inquiries to the village to find out more about the property, and submitted one of the three proposals to municipal staff, said Assistant Village Administrator Shannon Andrews.

In addition to the Kitchels, the village received a proposal from Erik Sivertsen of McHenry to run a horse-boarding business, and a proposal from the Mini Zoo Crew of Hampshire to run a petting zoo and pony ride business.

The Kitchels proposed that their rent be one-third of the board money they collect up to $4,600 a month, which is what the village used to collect on the property prior to it going vacant in February 2012.

The remaining two-thirds of board money collected will be used to pay for utilities, repairs and horse care, according to the Kitchel proposal.

They would charge boarders $500 to $650 a month.

The Kitchels, who live in Rockford, plan to invest at least $20,000 into the property, they said before Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

Village staff plans to have a new lease agreement negotiated and ready for Village Board members to review as early as Nov. 14, Andrews said.

Village Trustee Stephen Harlfinger said the Kitchels would be best suited to run the property.

“Hopefully we get someone in there that’s going to move forward and continue to improve what has been neglected,” Harlfinger said.

According to the couple’s proposal, the Kitchels are willing to allow the current boarders to stay at the current rental rates. Those rates may be adjusted if more boarders come to the barn.

Samantha Kitchel, who would be the barn manager, has eight years of horse stable experience, and Josiah has a construction background and is working as an electrical technician. He also plans to be the barn’s maintenance manager, under the proposal.

Samantha Kitchel grew up on a horse farm and has worked at horse stables. Josiah also worked with horses and ponies when he was a member of 4-H, according to their application. 

Among the repairs that the couple want to make in the first six to 12 months are leveling floors and filling holes in the stalls, repairing stall doors, fixing walls in storage areas and repairing broken or chewed board in the turnout area. 

In the second year, the couple plan to create more turnout space for horses, create an apartment for live-in barn help, build a storage barn for tractor and equipment storage and add rubber mats to all stalls, among other things.

Because Josiah Kitchel has a job, Samantha Kitchel will not need to collect a paycheck for working at the barn until the desired $4,600 monthly rent to the village is reached, according to the couple’s business proposal.

Village Board action

On Tuesday, the Lake in the Village Board approved the appointment of Michelle Green to the Police Commission. Her term will run through April 30.

Earlier this year, longtime Police Commission members Dennis Walters and Elaine Krohn resigned from the commission. In July, Doug Cummings was appointed to fill one of the seats.

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