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Humane Society gets village, county zoning

SCHUYLER COUNTY—The Humane Society of Schuyler County is comparing the costs to establish the county’s animal shelter at the Kurtz Enterprize building in Montour Falls or at the current spay and neuter clinic in Alpine.
Last week, the Montour Falls zoning board of appeals and the Schuyler County planning board both agreed an animal shelter fits the zoning of the Montour Falls location. The humane society is looking to expand and improve its facilities. HSSC President Georgie Taylor said the current dog shelter is inadequate and cats are housed through a foster program. The society originally looked at the Alpine location first.
However, the Catharine town board required a number conditions when it approved the special use permit for the animal shelter, Nov. 16, 2010. Taylor said by requiring additional soundproofing and changing the location of a new building, the cost would increase about $100,000. This is in addition to the estimated $350,000 Taylor said the project would cost.
“It’s not as effective,” said Taylor about the town’s changes.
The town also required the society to follow through with a purchase offer from Dr. Frank Fielder for additional property. However, Taylor said Fielder has since passed away and that offer expires in March. She explained the legal status is tied up in the estate.
The humane society then started examining the Kurtz Enterprize building as a location. The Montour Falls zoning board of appeals unanimously decided Wednesday, Feb. 9, that the proposed animal shelter fit the allowable uses for a special permit in that zone. Taylor said the animal shelter would be a spay and neuter clinic, offer adoptions and be an education center.
“We’ve eliminated a big hurdle,” Taylor said.
The next day, Thursday, Feb. 10, the Schuyler County planning board made the same judgment. Taylor explained the plan had to go before the county because the property is within 500 feet of a state highway.
She said the next step is to go before the Montour Falls village planning board for final approval. Taylor said the planning board indicated it would vote on the plan at the March 2 meeting.
The humane society also has to negotiate a price with Kurtz Enterprise. Taylor said when the group has all the estimated costs, it will compare which location, Montour Falls or Alpine, is the best option. Taylor said one point in favor for Montour Falls is that it is centrally located in Schuyler County.
Two of the main concerns Montour Falls residents have expressed are noise and the property being off the tax roll. Taylor said the humane society estimates people coming to the shelter would increase revenue for the village, covering the $12,000 in annual taxes. Addressing the noise, Taylor said the facility is designed to minimize noise and stress for the dogs. She added the society would install an opaque fence and plant trees along the perimeter.




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