Regional directors deny small animal sanctuary

By Lyonel Doherty, Times Chronicle

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) has said no to a zoning amendment application in Willowbrook to allow an animal sanctuary consisting of eight livestock.

The application from a Johnson Crescent property owner was recently rebuffed by Area C director Rick Knodel who said opening the door to this proposal would be “very problematic” for the neighbourhood. He pointed to the tight residential area that would be impacted by the operation.

Several letters from neighbours also opposed the amendment.

The existing bylaw only permits two animals on the property, but the applicant wants eight, including six horses, one goat and one miniature donkey. 

The applicant, Diane Hunter, told the board that she has lived on the property for a year without any prior complaints or concerns. 

“I do understand that the bylaw is the bylaw, it’s just unfortunate that my whole life can change because of a complaint,  everyone was in support of my situation except for a specific individual and now my world is upside down.”

Hunter said there was a perceived consensus that her application would never be approved, so she wonders why she was given the opportunity in the first place.

She said her miniature horses are actually smaller than her dog.

“I’m not sure where the true concern is for being over the animal limit . . . why it wouldn’t be passed.”

Regional planner Shannon Duong said it’s not uncommon for rural property owners in Willowbrook to keep livestock, but she noted that zoning provisions limit the number of animals permitted based on parcel size. This is to prevent associated nuisances, she pointed out.

Duong said agriculture is permitted as a secondary use on the property in question, but the purpose of the application is to formalize an existing geriatric animal sanctuary, which is a use not reflected under the definition of agriculture. In this case, the use is for personal enjoyment, she stated.

Duong said the applicant has the option to pursue the amendment via a temporary use permit with conditions to mitigate conflicts with neighbouring property owners.

Knodel said there are a number of representations against this application.

“There are a number of reasons to deny this, a 300 per cent increase in a very tight neighbourhood.”

He noted the property is on a hill overlooking the Willowbrook well aquifer, which people are concerned about in terms of contamination.

He said they are not suggesting that Hunter get rid of her animals, but that a temporary use permit is an alternative.

Knodel said rather than being hard-nosed about it, a TUP would serve the purpose and wouldn’t trigger a whole bunch of applications from other people wanting to do the same thing.

“I definitely have to stand against the rezone but I’m not against allowing her a system that lets her animals finish out their days, if you will.”

Director Karla Kozakevich said she likes the TUP idea and reminded the board there are letters of support for this property.

“There’s not enough people out there looking after animals,” she said.

The board voted to deny the application and invited Hunter to apply for a TUP.

The applicant said she totally agrees with that option.

“I’m getting a little choked up because it makes me very happy that you have considered this.”

Hunter said her situation isn’t a case where animals are coming and going. Instead, it’s a forever home for the eight animals in question. 

“I don’t think the animals would survive a transition, especially at their age, and knowing how attached they are to each other as a home.”

Hunter stressed this is not a business or a rescue operation where she makes money. She pays for it herself.

The applicant asked if there was any chance of a possible reduction in fees ($1,250) for the TUP. Chair Mark Pendergraft said she could make an application to that effect.

Animal sanctuary raises concern in Willowbrook


Regional directors deny small animal sanctuary Source link Regional directors deny small animal sanctuary

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