Catnip Acres appeals zoning board’s decision
WAYNESBURG – The owners of Catnip Acres filed an appeal Tuesday with the Greene County Court seeking to reverse a decision by the Franklin Township Zoning Hearing Board that denied them a special exception to operate their business in a residential zoned district.
Carol and Richard Pultorak filed the appeal after they were denied a special exception and variances Nov. 27 to operate the business at 155 Dark Hollow Road.
Carol Pultorak operated a nonprofit animal rescue operation and spay and neuter clinic at the property for several years. The area is zoned R-1 residential.
A complaint filed in October alleged the property was being used for an animal hospital, which is not a permitted use in an R-1 zone.
The Pultoraks appealed the township’s notice of violation and asked the zoning board to grant a special exception for home occupation and necessary variances to continue operating the business at the site.
At the Nov. 27 zoning hearing, Carol Pultorak and her attorney presented testimony, photographs and documents to support her claim the business was not operating as an animal hospital.
Those opposing the operation argued, however, that Catnip Acres’ employment of two veterinarians, one available on a 24-hour basis, as well as a state-of-the-art surgical suite, elevated the business to the level of an animal hospital.
In their appeal, the Pultoraks claim the board permitted evidence to be introduced at the hearing that was hearsay, speculative and not based on facts. The board’s decision was merely an attempt to “appease neighboring residents,” it said.
The Pultoraks maintain the property is not being used as an animal hospital and meets the criteria for a special exception as a home occupation. Objectors failed to present evidence based on fact that the use will have a detrimental effect upon the community’s health, safety and welfare or will conflict with the township’s zoning ordinance, it said.
The Pultoraks were required to remove the animal hospital from the property no later than today, Dec. 13.
The appeal asks the court to reverse the zoning board’s decision and to direct the zoning board to grant the Pultoraks a special exception so they can operate the business at the present site.
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