01/17/07 — Another shelter location proposed

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Another shelter location proposed

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on January 17, 2007 1:54 PM

Officials hope county-owned land on Aviation Road near the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport will be the location for the new animal shelter.

But Tuesday morning's announcement was soon followed by complaints from nearby residents who say construction will cause more flooding near their homes.

County Manager Lee Smith finally announced the possible location after building plans were completed by contractor Walter Vick and LSV Partnership Architects and handed over to county officials last Friday.

Architects are now completing written specifications for the site and building plans so the 11,500-square-foot, $1.2 million project can be bid out. The bidding process, which officials hope to begin Feb. 1, could take up to two months, Smith said.

Then, the county can award a bid to build a new animal shelter as early as April 1, he added.

But before any of that, the county must first approve a location for the facility.

Smith suggested that an animal shelter could be built on the five acres of county-owned property off Aviation Road. The commissioners originally would have not been allowed to build there because an animal shelter is not a permitted use on county-owned property.

But the commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday to allow animal shelters and other pet facilities as permitted uses in the county's airport, light industry, heavy industry and community shopping zones.

The land on Aviation Road has no adjacent business or residential property owners, which was not the case with the first location the county suggested for a new shelter.

In September, county officials requested that Goldsboro City Council rezone county-owned property located on the north side of Eighth Street between Humphrey Street and Wayne Memorial Drive to allow for an animal shelter. Councilmen didn't approve the change after local property owners spoke out against it.

Local property owners spoke out against the new proposed location of the facility again Tuesday morning. Ernestine Brewer told commissioners that she and her husband have complained about the increased amount of flooding at residences near the airport for the past four years.

Each year flooding gets worse as the nearby creek continues to clog with debris, Mrs. Brewer said, causing floodwater to spread into residents' yards. If a shelter is built, any water will run off into the creek, further flooding other homes -- perhaps even the airport, she said.

"If the commissioners don't address the flooding from the airport to the Neuse, then the airport will be flooded in the next 30 years," Mrs. Brewer said.

Other nearby construction, such as the new U.S. 117, has created a barrier that keeps floodwater in the yards of homes near the airport, she added.

"I'm losing my home and my property. That may not mean much to you, but it's everything to me. As a taxpaying citizen, you need to address this issue," Mrs. Brewer said.

Smith and the commissioners agreed that stormwater runoff is a "massive issue" facing Wayne County and other local governments along the Neuse River basin. That issue, among others, will be addressed during the commissioners' board retreat scheduled for Jan. 26.

The commissioners could then approve the shelter's location during the board's next meeting on Feb. 6. By that time, the shelter should also have a manager overseeing policies and construction.

Wayne County human resources director Sue Guy said interviews for an animal shelter manager will begin Monday. After interviewing the three candidates and conducting any necessary background checks, she said the search committee could have a recommendation for the commissioners as soon as the end of the month.

The nominee will earn between $37,577 and $58,607 a year based on previous experience and job knowledge, Mrs. Guy said. He or she will be tasked with working with local veterinarians to provide emergency treatment for animals, developing a spay and neuter program either at the facility or through local veterinarians' offices and streamlining the adoption process.

As construction nears, the county should be notified if its efforts are in conjunction with two anonymous donors' demands for a new shelter. The unnamed donors represented by lawyer Tommy Jarrett said they would give $200,000 toward a new shelter if certain criteria were met.

The donors want the shelter in a central location. They also requested that a new shelter treat all animals humanely while in the care of the facility and when the animals are euthanized. Animal shelter employees must also work to increase the animal adoption rate.

Local residents have helped raise more than $50,000 for the project.