Animal Shelter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 14, 2009

At public hearing, landowners object to animal shelter

By Jason C. Mattox

Plans for construction of a city and county-owned animal shelter hit a bump last Tuesday when city leaders heard complaints about the proposed location.

During a public hearing at the first monthly meeting of the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen, two property owners voiced their objection to locating the shelter on property near the Boys and Girls Club on Highway 51. The property is jointly owned by the county and the city, and was originally attached to the old national guard armory.

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Code Enforcement Office administrator Pam Comer told aldermen that the Planning Commission recommended the rezoning of the property from C-2 to C-3, a designation which would allow the animal shelter.

Woody Loden IV, who owns 41 acres near the proposed animal shelter location, raised objections.

“I had 41 acres near there rezoned for residential development, and it will be hard to fill those homes if they are located next to a dog shelter,” he said.

Loden expressed concerns over the cost of the project.

“I don’t think we need to spend $500,000 on a dog pound when we won’t do a skatepark for our kids,” he said. “It seems to me the city is saying that dogs and cats are more important than our kids are.”

“We haven’t spent a dime yet,” Ward 3 Alderman Stan Harrison said. “People think we are spending money, but we haven’t done anything yet.”

Loden added that he did not want to see his property devalued by having an animal shelter in the area.

Sherry Burns Williams echoed Loden’s concerns.

“You haven’t spent any money yet, but we all know what is heading that way,” she said. “I can’t think of one thing I could do with the property I have on [Highway 51] if it is next to a pound.”

Williams said she agrees there is a need for a shelter, but urged the city to look at alternate locations.

“You could put it out there by the jail or put it out by the sewer treatment plant,” she said. “You don’t have to put it in the middle of the city.

“I don’t see the property taxes going down, but I can sure see my values going down if this happens,” Williams continued.

Aldermen took the matter under advisement and did not specify when it would be brought back for discussion.