Steven Spielberg's neighbors gave the legendary moviemaker a thumbs-down yesterday, panning his script to build a huge equestrian center in their exclusive Brentwood neighborhood.

Homeowners plan to fight Spielberg's effort to build a horseman's paradise, complete with a 27,000-square-foot riding ring, subterranean stables, a spectator platform, retractable roof and a caretaker's home. 

Spielberg, who is building the center for his horse-loving wife, actress Kate Capshaw, must win a half-dozen zoning variances before he can begin the $7 million project. 

"It's just a very large project, entirely out of step and with no relationship to anything else in this neighborhood," neighbor and retired import exec Sam Hellinger told The Post yesterday. 

City planners, though, appear to be on Spielberg's side, concluding that his project poses "no significant impact" on the neighborhood as long as manure and insects are properly controlled. 

A Spielberg spokesman said yesterday the filmmaker understands his neighbors' criticisms and will try to consider all suggestions. 

"Once everyone is taken through the plans, a lot of the concerns will vanish. That's already beginning to happen," said Andy Spahn, a senior executive at Spielberg's DreamWorks SKG. 

"You're never going to satisfy everyone. In large part, most of the concerns expressed by neighbors will be dealt with and they'll come away satisfied, ultimately." 

But favorable reviews will be hard to win from Spielberg's neighborhood critics. 

Lawyer John Murdock, hired to represent the local homeowners, told yesterday's Los Angeles Times: "It's just astounding and obnoxious. They're cutting out half the hillside to put in this riding ring . . . the structure is completely alien to the area." 

The next big step is set for Jan. 4, when a zoning administrator hears arguments on Spielberg's request for variances. 

Spielberg and Capshaw, who live in neighboring Pacific Palisades, purchased the 2.8-acre lot for $5.75 million last year. 

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