09/19/06 — Owners protest shelter location

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Owners protest shelter location

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 19, 2006 1:53 PM

Business owners along Wayne Memorial Drive say they agree that the county needs a new animal shelter -- they just don't want it in their neighborhood.

Several property owners spoke against a rezoning request by Wayne County officials to change the zoning of land on the north side of Eighth Street, between Humphrey Street and Wayne Memorial Drive that would permit the construction of an animal shelter. County officials have said the site would be a good location for a proposed shelter.

Animal rights activists in the county have clamored for a new shelter for months, saying the existing facility on Brick Street is outdated.

The zoning request is to change the zoning from office and institutional to general business.

John Lewis, Richard Best, Chris Cox and several others who spoke in opposition of the request, told council members the rezoning would be a "detriment to future development" near Wayne Memorial Drive.

"We do need an animal shelter, that's a given. I just have a problem with it being so close to my business," Best said.

Best operates Retro Lube Oil Change. He said he is concerned about the potential noise and odor problems associated with a shelter.

"I could pop all the popcorn in the world and still not cover up that smell," he said.

Bobby Dail agreed -- he supports the shelter project, but "strongly opposes" the proposed location near his business.

"What we're talking about doing here is running all these businesses right up to an animal shelter," Dail said. "If you put an animal shelter out there, my property and all the other properties are going to go down in value. It's a great project, but it's a great project for another area."

Lewis said he, too, was concerned about the effects a shelter might have on the value of his land.

Cox called it a good idea but bad planning on the county's part.

"I think we should have a shelter," he said. "But there's also good planning. And this is not good planning."

The Wayne County Advisory Committee has suggested building the facility on the county-owned site. It would provide a central location that would benefit the entire county, they say.

Barrett Parker, of the Humane Society, said she just hopes that wherever the shelter is constructed, it will be centrally located in order to make adoption and visitation more practical for city residents.

"Please keep in mind that we need to pick a site that is centrally located. The facility that is proposed is going to be unbelievable. It will be something we'll be proud of," she said.

The city Planning Commission will review the issue and make a recommendation to the council at an upcoming meeting, officials said.

Mike Woodard said he hopes the right decision is made -- for the city, its taxpaying business owners and future development in the area.

"As a landowner and developer ... I just don't think this is a good location," he said.