Proposed animal shelter site to be rezoned

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By Jennifer Garcia

The council approved an ordinance request Tuesday night to rezone the property where the proposed new animal shelter is to be developed.


The land is being changed from Multiple Family Residential-Very High Density to public land use.


A public hearing regarding the zoning was held during the county council meeting.


Community Development Director Rick Bohn was in council chambers to give a presentation on the rezoning of the proposed animal shelter.


Following his presentation, Councilor Robert Gibson questioned Bohn about the rezoning process.


“You started your presentation by saying that the zoning is inappropriate for its intended use,” Gibson said. He asked Bohn if the process was backward, pointing out that maybe the property should have been rezoned before a site plan was proposed.


 “It’s done both ways,” Bohn said, “sometimes applicants will propose a site plan at the same time they propose rezoning. Planning and Zoning has not heard the site plan yet. We decided to start rezoning first. This is a great improvement over the example of rezoning the fire station in White Rock after it was built,” he continued.


The proposed site of the new County Animal Shelter, slated to be located at 226 East Road lies between an existing private veterinary clinic and the Dog Obedience School and East Park.


According to information presented to council, the proposed site contains a strip of land that is currently zoned R-3-H-40, Multiple Family Residential-Very High Density.


Bohn said this zoning is inappropriate for the proposed use and should be rezoned P-L, public land, which is the current zoning designation on the remaining portion of the proposed Animal Shelter site.


The Interdepartmental Review committee reviewed the rezoning on Oct. 30, 2008 and the Planning and Zoning Commission also reviewed it on Nov. 19. Both groups recommended approval.


It has also been determined that the proposed rezoning of the 0.66 acre parcel, which is a part of the future animal shelter site is compatible with and suitable for adjacent properties. The adjacent properties in question includes the private Ridgeview Veterinary Clinic, the Los Alamos Dog Obedience School, Aspen Ridge Assisted Living Facility and East Park.


A proposed access drive to the animal shelter and an existing fence is located between the proposed facility and Aspen Ridge’s parking lot, buffering Aspen Ridge residential uses. Landscaping will also offer further buffering between the proposed facility and existing uses.


During the rezoning process, consideration was given to the existing and programmed capacity of onsite and offsite public services and facilities, to include, but not limited to sanitary sewer, water, storm sewer, electricity, streets, gas, parks, sidewalks, fire and police to adequately serve the property and also to control traffic, Bohn said.


Any use would result in an increase of use because the property is currently vacant. A site plan for the parcel is currently in planning stages and the Planning and Zoning Commission must approve it prior to construction. Onsite and offsite utilities and public services are being planned or already exist and are being coordinated by county departments, as well as being installed to serve the site as part of the process.


The proposed change to the official zoning map substantially conforms to the Comprehensive Plan and is not materially detrimental to the general welfare, health or safety of the county.


The rezoning request conforms to several Comprehensive Plan Vision Statements. Relocation of the animal shelter from its current location in an outdated facility on the Trinity Place redevelopment site will help to upgrade county infrastructure, diversify the economy and revitalize downtown.


Following Gibson’s questions, Councilor Sharon Stover made a motion, suggesting council support the rezoning of the property and adopt the ordinance. The motion was seconded by Councilor Mike Wismer and after a vote, the motion passed 6-0.