Chesterton Tribune



County BZA okays greyhound shelter in Liberty Township

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The Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals divided 4-1 Wednesday on its approval of a proposed rescue shelter for greyhound dogs where the CSX railroad crosses C.R. 100W, at the northwest corner, in Liberty Township.

Representing American Greyhound Inc., attorney Todd Leeth said the parcel is within a Rural Residential district but there is not any district under the County’s Unified Development Ordinance that has a dog shelter in its list of permitted uses. American Greyhound is a non-profit corporation that has worked over the years to foster greyhounds into homes and this is would be its first shelter facility in Porter County, Leeth said.

On a 10-acre parcel, the building will set about 340 feet away from the road and 600 feet away from the nearest house. Leeth said there will be about 15 to 20 dogs at its average capacity, but it could handle up to 30 in emergency situations such as the sudden closure of a racetrack. Only greyhounds and other sighthounds will be permitted, he said.

“We would adopt them out as quickly as we could or move them to another shelter. The goal is to adopt all dogs and foster those who are not adopted,” said Leeth.

The dogs would be loaded and unloaded indoors and will be outside in a fenced-in area for play and exercise no more than four hours a day, according to Leeth, who said that volunteers will be supervising the dogs.

Noise “is not going to be an issue,” Leeth said, because the building will have six inches of insulation and will be far enough away from neighboring homes. There will also be landscape added as a buffer, he said.

As discussed before the County Development Review Committee earlier this month, waste will be put into a receptacle on the southwest end and will be taken by disposal services every two to three days, said Leeth and American Greyhound Inc. President Jeff Coggins.

Three neighbors gave their concerns during the public hearing while local veterinarian Larry McAfee supported the concept.

Charles and Sharon Troup said they would like for the neighborhood to retain a residential feel. “I don’t want to see this come through. I absolutely do not. I don’t want the noise. I don’t want the smell. I don’t want the traffic,” Sharon Troup said.

“I’ve seen these places built and then the traffic starts coming and you’re there. You’ve got to fight it all the time,” Charles Troup said, who said he is not against the organization but reiterated his point it should not be in a residential area.

Neighbor Donald Rath said he’s not opposed as long as the BZA can enforce the conditions that Leeth spoke about.

McAfee said he saw the site plan and believes that American Greyhound is addressing all the issues.

“They are a truly professional and ethical organization,” McAfee said. “I think they meet all the parameters for human care.”

McAfee added that greyhounds are “highly nonaggressive” dogs and do not excite or bark as often as other breeds.

Leeth said volunteers will be with the dogs all times they are out doors and will calm the dogs if they bark. Coggins has spent time greeting neighbors door-to-door to let them know that if there is ever an issue with noise or smell to call him, Leeth said.

BZA members comments were few, but member Marvin Brickner questioned if having 30 dogs is needed since the animal specialists he’s talked to in researching the variance have told him that the popularity of greyhounds has decreased substantially in the last five years, possibly due to the fact they are not well adaptive to cold temperatures.

McAfee said he would not agree with Brickner’s findings and from what he has seen at his practice, greyhounds remain a very popular breed.

Brickner contended that he doesn’t think the shelter should house more than 20 dogs at a time. He dissented on member Bob Poparad’s motion to approve the variance with the condition that the shelter could hold up to 30 dogs as well as the other conditions Leeth spoke of.

Voting in favor were Poparad, Luther Williams, Michael Young, and President Debbie Kerr-Cook.

Leeth said traffic would not be an issue because the shelter would not operate as a normal business that is open for the public to visit. Adoption visits will be made by appointment with Coggins. There will be one or two open house events in the summer, however.

Coggins will return to the Development Review Committee for final approval of the site plan.

Jackson Township Parcel

In a 5-0 vote, the BZA approved Adam Ispas’ request for a developmental standards variance to place a secondary primary structure on a five-acre parcel at 567E 700N in Jackson Township zoned Rural Residential.

The property is currently heavily wooded and includes a wetland where drainage will be directed to, said Leeth who acted as attorney for the petition.

Ispas wishes to build a home for his family and a separate home unit for his parents. The two units will be connected structurally by a four-seasons room, Leeth said, and both will have two stories.


Posted 8/18/2017




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