Thu, Feb. 20

Activity arises around airport
New Verde Valley Humane Society flies through P&Z

If everything goes right regarding the expansion to the Verde Valley Humane Society, Cottonwood would have a new 8,000-square-foot facility capable of accommodating 40 dogs and 60 cats. So far, the initial steps have been positive for the humane society -- with a July 19 neighborhood meeting passing by with little opposition and a recommended approval by the Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this week.

The commission approval was for a zone change from AR-43 (agricultural/residential) to I-2 (heavy industrial). The land located along Mingus Avenue just south of the Cottonwood Airport is a complex of parcels owned by the City of Cottonwood.

The current humane society sits on an I-2 zoned parcel, but more of the area needs to be zoned this way to allow for expansion. The city is leasing the area to the humane society.

Additional city-owned vacant property sits to the west of the site. Part of the proposed Mesquite Hills subdivision, recently rezoned to planned area development, is to the south. To the east, lies more vacant land.

Community Development Director George Gehlert said staff did receive a letter from Andy Groseta, who owns property in the area. In the letter, Groseta objects to any outdoor kennels.

Architect Michael Meldrum said the new facility would be built around a 4,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard area, with fresh-air kennels facing into it. Meldrum said the building would act as a sound barrier to reduce noise and barking.

According to a staff memo from Gehlert regarding the noise issue, "The applicant maintains that the facility has been designed with acoustic treatments that will ensure the new facility will be an improvement over the existing facility."

Groseta wrote in his letter, "We realize the need for such a facility in our community, but they need to recognize and address the concerns of adjoining landowners. A facility farther out in the country would be better for all parties concerned."

However, Groseta said the way the facility was presented at the planning and zoning meeting is satisfactory.

Meldrum contends that the "building will be a good neighbor to the residential areas."

Other features of the facility include a birthing area, caretaker's apartment, rooms to get aquatinted with possible future pets, and a veterinarian clinic space. The existing humane society building would be refurbished and used as the intake and isolation area.

According to Gehlert's memo, "The applicants would like to break ground in the spring and be open by the end of 2007."

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