Agreements in place for horseback riding business, Children’s Museum events

By Raiza Giorgi

The Buellton City Council hosted a special meeting to discuss and provide direction for multiple uses and facilities at the Willemsen Property near River View Park on Aug. 26. 

“This will allow us to move forward and get agreement contracts going as well as RFP’s (Request for Proposals) out to bid for construction and remodeling of the house,” said City Manager Scott Wolfe after the meeting. 

Located at 202 Dairyland Road in Buellton, the 24-acre property was purchased by the city of Buellton in May 2020 for $2 million. The city was originally interested in buying only the 20-acre lower portion of the property to use as a reserve to expand the city’s wastewater treatment facility if needed in the future. However, the Willemsen family did not want to split up the property, so the City Council eventually bought the entire property.

One of the agreements, which passed 5-0, is for Santa Ynez Valley Horseback Rides, LLC to use a few of the lower 20 acres of the Willemsen property for its business.

The city is also moving forward with a long-term agreement for the Santa Ynez Valley Children’s Museum, which currently holds events for children at the SYV Botanic Garden on the first Saturday of the month. A small facility will eventually be built to the east of the barn, Wolfe said. 

The museum has plans for a community garden, a recirculating water feature, slides going down the hill to the lower portion of the property, art and building stations, playhouses and much more for children and parents or caregivers to enjoy together.

The council also got to review the floor plan of the house and suggest separations of space as well as how the Buellton Library might progress with moving their operations to the residence. 

“There’s also a potential use for the Friends of the Library to put in a bookstore and generate revenue,” Wolfe said. 

The RFP for an architect will go out to bid by the end of the month and Wolfe said one hopefully will be chosen so they can begin the process and get remodeling construction started by sometime in 2022. 

During public comment of the meeting, Library Director Allison Gray provided suggestions on the residence, asking for at least two bathrooms, a breakroom and storage space. 

Santa Barbara resident Clint Orr asked to be considered for using the barn space to teach country dance classes. 

“Further uses of the house of how to generate income to the city are being considered but nothing has been decided on yet,” Wolfe said. 

There will also be a parking lot constructed on the lower portion of the property so all access to the Willemsen property and its tenants will go down Sycamore through River View Park and park to walk up to the residence and barn so as to not disturb the neighborhood, Wolfe added. 

The Buellton Senior Center is planning on hosting a fundraiser at the barn on Oct. 16, as an introduction to the space for events. 

To read the entire meeting minutes or to see future meeting agendas and packets visit and click on City Council.