Tue, Feb. 25

Expansion treat possible for humane society rollover

A neighborhood meeting will be held July 19 regarding an expanded Verde Valley Humane Society facility.

Cottonwood Community Development Director George Gehlert said, "the proposal would expand the shelter to roughly four times its current size."

Architect Michael Meldrum said the new building would be about 8,000 square feet with an internal courtyard, kennel space for 40 dogs, accommodations for 60 cats, a holding area, rooms to get aquatinted with possible adopted pets, a birthing room, puppy play area, staff facility improvements, veterinarian clinic and a caretaker's apartment.

"They have outgrown the existing facility," said Meldrum.

The neighborhood meeting pertains to the rezoning request. If approved, the land would be rezoned from AR-43 (Agricultural/Residential) to I-2 (Heavy Industrial). The City of Cottonwood owns the property. The city would lease the parcel to the humane society. The lease with the city for the existing facility is being renegotiated to include the new building.

In a letter to the City of Cottonwood, Meldrum wrote, "The new building shall be constructed by the Verde Valley Humane Society with funds raised from donations and grants. Substantial funds have already been committed by individual donors."

Plans are to refurbish the existing shelter and use it for the intake and isolation area.

The fresh-air kennels would open up into an internal courtyard area, thus reducing the amount of noise. Less barking is expected because the courtyard area would be set up so dogs wouldn't be able to see each other.

Meldrum said this "tremendously reduces barking."

For further acoustical control, the dogs and cats will be completely separated.

"Other steps will be taken in the design and material selection to control sound both internally and externally," said Meldrum. "This building will be a good neighbor to the residential areas and adjacent city buildings."

Future parents will be given a sitting room to get aquatinted with their future pets. They will be allowed to bring in their existing pets and, in a "home-like environment," see how the pets get along.

A caretaker's apartment would be constructed so someone would be at the facility 24 hours a day.

Meldrum said further plans include the construction of a conference and education area for the public to rent out.

Following the neighborhood meeting, the proposal will go to the planning and zoning commission on August 21, said Gehlert.

The neighborhood meeting will be at the Public Safety Building, 199 S. Sixth St., at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

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