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02-25-2014 I PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION 2 FOR THE 3 CITY OF LAS CRUCES 4 City Council Chambers 5 February 25, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. 6 7 BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: 8 Godfrey Crane, Chairman 9 William Stowe, Vice-Chair 10 Charles Beard, Secretary 11 Ray Shipley, Member 12 Joanne Ferrary, Member 13 14 BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT: 15 Ruben Alvarado, Member 16 17 STAFF PRESENT: 18 Susana Montana, Planner, CLC 19 Robert Cabello, CLC Legal Staff 20 Becky Baum, Recording Secretary, RC Creations, LLC 21 22 I. CALL TO ORDER (6:00) 23 24 Crane: Good evening. Welcome to the Planning and Zoning Commission 25 meeting for the 25th of February, 2014. We'll start as we usually do by 26 introducing the Commissioners present; on my far right is Commissioner 27 Shipley representing District 6. Then Commissioner Stowe who's also our 28 Vice Chairman, District 1. Commissioner Ferrary, District 5. And on my 29 right Commissioner Beard who's also our secretary, District 2. I'm 30 Godfrey Crane, District 4, and I'm the Chairman. 31 32 It. CONFLICT OF INTEREST 33 At the opening of each meeting, the chairperson shall ask if any member on the 34 Commission or City staff has any known conflict of interest with any item on the 35 agenda. 36 37 Crane: I also have to ask as we usually do if there are any Commissioner, 38 members of the City Community Development Department, or people 39 present from the public who have any conflict of interest regarding this 40 matter. And of course if you're here in relation to this matter you don't 41 have a conflict. Nobody's indicating there's a conflict, so we'll proceed. 42 43 III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES 44 1. January 28, 2014 - Regular meeting 45 1 I Crane: Gentlemen any corrections to the minutes to the last meeting? Lady and 2 gentleman, I beg your pardon. 3 4 Stowe: Yes. 5 6 Crane: Commissioner Stowe. 7 8 Stowe: On page five, line 27; as the sentence begins "As" it should be either "As 9 was done" or "As we have done'. 10 11 Crane: I think I said as we have done. Because we usually do that. Got that 12 madam recording secretary? Okay. 13 14 Stowe: That's all I have. 15 16 Crane: Mr. Shipley anything? All right, I have that item also, and page 3, we 17 seem to have gotten into something of a tangle and I'm not absolutely 18 clear what I actually said but I've a couple of suggestions to make that will 19 make it clear. First line's good; second line, "ever come to read these 20 minutes if the word 'none'." and take out the period after none please. 21 And then the next sentence, "Under approval", lower cause "u" for under, 22 "approval of minutes". And then scratch the words "it says "none" as. And 23 just put in its place "is". So it'll read "ever come to read these minutes if 24 the word 'none' under approval of minutes is". Any other Commissioner, 25 any points? Then I'll entertain a motion that the minutes of the last 26 meeting be approved as amended. 27 28 Shipley: So moved. 29 30 Crane: Moved by Mr. Shipley. Do I have a second? 31 32 Stowe: Second. 33 34 Crane: Seconded by Mr. Stowe. All in favor aye. 35 36 ALL: AYE (except Commissioner Farrary abstains). 37 38 Crane: Opposed? It passes five/zero. And Ms. Ferrary abstains, so four/zero 39 and one abstention. Thank you. 40 41 IV. CONSENT AGENDA - NONE 42 43 Crane: Ms. Montana, consent agenda none. 44 45 V. OLD BUSINESS - NONE 46 9 I Crane: Old business none. Is there anything changing on this? 2 3 Montana: No, no change. 4 5 Crane: Okay. 6 7 VI. NEW BUSINESS 8 9 1. Case SUP-14-01: Application for a Special Use Permit to allow a cattery and 10 pet adoption facility at an existing commercial building and lot located at 2211 11 N. Mesquite St. within the North Mesquite Neighborhood Overlay Zone C-2 12 (General Commercial) District. This application also requests a variance from 13 the C-2 District requirement that the cattery be located 400 feet from any 14 residential zoning district. The facility would be located about 350 feet from 15 an R-4 (High Density Multi-Density) Residential zoning district. Parcel ID# 16 02-04405; Council District 1 (Councillor Silva). 17 18 Crane: New business, Case SUP-14-01, application for special use permit to 19 allow a cattery at 2211 North Mesquite. Go ahead. Oh, excuse me, for 20 the benefit of the public if you haven't been here before. The way we do 21 this is, since this is a new business item and we're going to have some 22 discussion, first the city makes a presentation, the Commissioners may 23 choose to ask Ms. Montana questions; then the applicant, who I presume 24 is here, is the applicant here ... makes a presentation, we may ask 25 questions, and then any interested members of the public can make a 26 presentation and we may ask questions of them. When everybody's had 27 their say we close discussion and we Commissioners may discuss among 28 ourselves and then we take a vote. And first I have to swear in Ms. 29 Montana. Do you swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to 30 give is the truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law? 31 32 Montana: I do. 33 34 Crane: Thank you. Please proceed. 35 36 Montana: For the record Susana Montana, Planner with the Community 37 Development Department. You have before you Commissioners what 1 38 believe is the first application for a cattery, and this is to operate at 2211 39 North Mesquite Street which lies within the North Mesquite C-2 general 40 commercial district. I'm showing slides that indicate the property location; 41 this is East Madrid Avenue between Solano and North Main, and North 42 Mesquite. This is the shopping center where Fiesta market is located, and 43 so we're right around the corner on Mesquite. The property is zoned C-2 44 within the North Mesquite Historic District and Overlay District, and within 45 that district the use, the cattery use is also sort of combined with the 46 kennel land use, and kennels are permitted as a conditional use. The 3 I condition being that it be located 400-feet from the nearest residential 2 zoning district. The nearest residential zoning district is this R-4, high- 3 density multifamily zoning district where we have apartments. And the 4 proposed site at its southern most property line is only 350-feet from that 5 nearest zoning district. So for that reason the applicant has asked for a 6 variance, since this is a numerical standard this Commission can grant a 7 variance to that 400-feet. 8 This slide shows the location of the property in relation to the 9 neighborhood. Immediately west of the property is a mobile home park, 10 then the shopping center, offices, retail, small retail, single-family homes, 1 t industrial, light industrial, and more mixed uses in the area. The site is a 12 former landscape contractor yard and nursery. The owner is the 13 landscape contractor and he wishes to move to another location within the 14 North Mesquite neighborhood. The site is 21,780 square feet. The 15 building is 2,000 square feet. The property has the building, a fenced 16 yard, and a parking lot. The cattery would occupy the 2,000 square foot 17 building and would care for about 30 cats. There may be some kittens in 18 addition to that number. There would be staff on-site daily as described in 19 the staff report to clean and feed and socialize with the cats and kittens. 20 The operation would also operate a pet food bank which would be open to 21 the public. There are pet owners maybe who lost a pet and have extra 22 food. They could bring the pet food, to this location specifically cat and 23 dog pet food and members of the public could come there and receive the 24 donations. 25 Occasionally there would be an outdoor event for the adoption of 26 dogs and cats. I spoke with the applicant today, because of the location 27 there may not be enough foot traffic or the location may not be well known 28 to the general public to have a monthly pet adoption event, like we do 29 weekly at the Farmer's Market and at the various pet stores, pet supply 30 stores. So it may not be monthly, it might be every few months. As 1 31 mentioned earlier the North Mesquite C-2 district requires as a condition 32 that the cattery which is combined with the definition of kennel be located 33 the 400-feet from the nearest residential district, and it is only 350-some 34 feet, so the applicant is requesting the variance to allow that distance 35 reduction. Also, the current occupant, the owner actually will be leaving 36 and they had a much larger more dense activity at the site. The pet 37 adoption center would be a lower intensive activity at the site and only four 38 parking spaces would be required rather than the eight or nine that exist 39 now. The parking lot would be redesigned and in the redesign the backing 40 up or the driving aisle is less than the 27-feet required. Now that's a 41 zoning code requirement, the 27-feet, so this Commission is authorized to 42 grant a variance from the 27-feet to the 25-feet backup space. And there 43 has been no opposition to either the special use or the variances that are 44 being requested. 45 1 want to give you an idea, this is the fenced area for the pet 46 adoption center and it's about 60-feet from the nearest residential use 4 I which is this mobile home, and it's about 90-feet from single-family homes 2 across the street. Now I did a noise measurement of the ambient, the 3 background noise for this site on a Saturday and it was about 68-70 4 decibels, depending on if there are cars passing or a siren in the 5 neighborhood, so that's the background noise. I went to the Farmer's 6 Market on that same Saturday at 10 a.m. and measured again 60-feet 7 from where the dog adoption center is right around the corner here and 8 the background noise with the dogs barking was about the same, 68-70. 9 The dogs barking were only intermittent and I stayed at each location 10 about 15 minutes duration. So that led me to believe that if there was an t1 occasional pet or dog adoption center or event at the location on a 12 Saturday around 10 a.m. the barking dogs would really not be discernable 13 above the background noise to this mobile home or to the single-family 14 homes. So I don't believe that the noise from that event would be a 15 nuisance in the neighborhood and so I don't think that it would be a 16 problem to reduce the noise, reduce the distance from the zoning district 17 or to allow the occasional pet dog adoption events at the location. 18 This is an image of the parking lot, again there are about nine 19 spaces on the property. This is an adjacent property that's owned by the 20 same owner. This is about the property line. So the reconfiguration of this 21 parking lot to accommodate the four required spaces including the one 22 ADA van space would require that this distance would be 25-feet rather 23 than the 27-feet required by the zoning code, and that is the reason that 24 the applicant is asking for two-foot variance. 25 Our findings are that the noise from the cattery would certainly not 26 be heard off-site. The cats would be boarded within the building. They 27 would not participate in the occasional outdoor pet adoption event. Noise 28 from the outdoor dog and cat event would not be discernable off site. 29 Therefore, the project would address ... positively address the relevant 30 zoning code purpose and intents statements and relevant Planning and 31 Zoning Commission decision criteria. The cattery offering the adoption 32 service would positively address relevant Comp Plan policies as well. And 33 the 25-foot driving aisle would be adequate for the new redesigned 34 parking lot and that is a determination made by the city's traffic engineer. 35 Staff recommends approval of the special use permit as well as the two 36 variance requests; one being the reduction in the distance from the 37 nearest residential zoning district, and the other being the 25-foot driving 38 aisle. Your options tonight Commissioners is to approve individually the 39 special use permit and the variance requests, one for the reduction in the 40 driving aisle, one for the distance requirement from the residential zoning 41 district; or to combine them and approve the uses and the variances, or 42 approve them with the condition, or deny them, or to table this for more 43 information. With that, that concludes my presentation. The applicant is 44 here if you wish to hear from the representative. And I'm happy to answer 45 any questions you may have. 46 5 I Crane: Thank you Ms. Montana. Any Commissioner have question for Ms. 2 Montana? Mr. Beard I think your light lit first. 3 4 Beard: On page two, second paragraph, towards the end of second paragraph, it 5 says "but does not include veterinary hospital, humane societies, animal 6 shelters, or pounds approved by a governmental agency'. Would that ... 7 could we include ... I mean could they do that if it wasn't a government 8 approved agency? 9 10 Montana: If this were a city sponsored or one of the other government entity 11 sponsored animal pet adoption centers, then it's not in the definition of 12 kennel or cattery and they would not have to ... they would not be before 13 you for a special use permit. But because this is a private non-profit they 14 are before you for the special use permit. 15 16 Beard: I'm not even saying that this is a deviation to a code, I'm just saying if they 17 were to illegally do, not illegally but if it wasn't approved by a 18 governmental agency then they can do this veterinary hospitals and 19 shelters and other stuff. I guess ... if I read the whole sentence there it 20 says "but does NOT include veterinary hospitals approved by a 21 governmental agency". I don't understand why we put in approved 22 governmental agency. Just strike that all out. I would strike out "approved 23 by a governmental agency". 24 25 Montana: Well, that is an existing definition in the municipal code so I can't strike it. 26 It's you know adopted by city ordinance, so I can't strike that. But the 27 intent is that's a kennel, a private kennel are those activities except for 28 veterinary hospitals which are allowed to have those activities and board 29 animals, humane societies, animal shelters, or pounds, that are sponsored 30 by government entities, so those are not ... those last uses are not 31 included as a commercial kennel. That was the intent of the definition. 32 33 Beard: Right. That's the approved that I'm having a concern with. 34 35 Montana: Yeah. Should say sponsored. 36 37 Beard: Okay. Could you explain the 400-foot again to me? 38 39 Montana: Surely. Let me get back to a slide. The southern property line is only 350- 40 feet from this R-4 zoning district. The intent of the condition was that a 41 kennel which includes a dog, primarily we've experienced dog kennels, 42 would have barking and the distance requirement was intended to mitigate 43 or alleviate noise to the nearest residential zoning district. Now, zoning is 44 allowed and preexisted in this neighborhood in the C-2 district, so even 45 though the nearest zoning district is 350-feet, there is zoning use, or 46 residential uses immediately adjacent to the subject parcel. So, even 6 I though the intent of the condition of the C-2 in the North Mesquite was to 2 mitigate noise to residences, there are residences immediately next to it. 3 So, that would've been a concern had this been a dog kennel and we 4 would've raised that as a concern, the noise, the barking of the dogs. 5 6 Beard: I don't understand why the other trailers that are closer are not in. 7 8 Montana: They're in a C-2. They preexisted, it's a legal nonconforming mobile home 9 park and they preexisted the 2005 North Mesquite C-2 zoning district, the 10 overlay district. 11 12 Beard: Oh, okay. 13 14 Crane: Mr. Shipley. 15 16 Shipley: Thank you. Mr. Beard I think what she's saying is there's a requirement 17 that they have to be 400-feet away from any residents. 18 19 Montana: No, no, no. Zoning district. It says residential zoning district. 20 21 Shipley: Okay. 22 23 Montana: That's what the condition in North Mesquite C-2 states. The intent was to 24 mitigate noise for residences, but it says zoning district. 25 26 Shipley: Okay. 27 28 Crane: What is the zoning of the residential area across Mesquite? You 29 mentioned single-family houses. 30 31 Montana: Well this is C-2, all of this is C-2 as well. 32 33 Crane: So that's ... 34 35 Montana: So it's all C-2. 36 37 Crane: Because it's grandfathered in. 38 39 Montana: Single-family homes. Yes. And the other closest residential zoning is the 40 former Las Cruces Country Club which is R-1 a, but the closest residential 41 zoning district is this R-4. 42 43 Crane: Commissioner Ferrary. 44 45 Ferrary: And you stated earlier that there were no objections to this? 46 7 I Montana: That is correct. We posted a sign. We advertised in a legal ad in the 2 newspaper. We sent letters to property owners within 500-feet, certified 3 for the first 100-feet, and first-class mail for the remaining 400-feet and no 4 comments whatsoever. 5 6 Ferrary: Okay. And I wouldn't imagine that there would be much noise from cats at 7 night and then just during the weekends if they have you know a pet 8 adoption that would probably like you said not even enter into the decibels 9 of the noise from the surrounding area. 10 11 Montana: That's correct. The cats and kittens will be within the structure at all times. 12 And as I said the barking ... the occasional barking from the dogs that are 13 in the crates on a pet adoption event I don't expect to be heard above the 14 ambient background noise level. 15 16 Ferrary: And is there someone who is going to be there overnight, or just during 17 the day? 18 19 Montana: I believe just during the day, but the applicant is here to answer any 20 questions about their operation. 21 22 Crane: Commissioner Shipley. 23 24 Shipley: Ms. Montana, my question is could the fence be moved two feet to the 25 west or taken out completely to adjust that so you wouldn't have to have 26 this variance? 27 28 Montana: Well Commissioner it's a wrought iron fence. 29 30 Shipley: I saw the fence, but I'm just saying instead of giving them a variance, 31 they're not going to be using any of that area behind the fence, that's wide 32 open space, it's just going to be ... they can either park cars back there or 33 whatever. They're going to be using the building for the cattery and the 34 outside storage is ... they're using is currently outside storage is just going 35 to be you know ... why would you even need the fence if you're going to 36 do that, then you wouldn't need this variance at all. 37 38 Montana: Well Commissioner we believe, the traffic engineer believes that 25-feet is 39 adequate and so there's not a need for the extra two feet for the redesign 40 of the parking. That's why we approached this Commission for the 41 variance. Moving the wrought iron fence is possible at considerable 42 expense. 43 44 Shipley: The other thing is in their ... it says they're open every day, I assume 45 that's seven days a week. 46 8 I Montana: That is correct. It would be staffed to feed and clean and socialize the 2 cats and kittens. I don't know if it's open to the public seven days a week. 3 The applicant again can answer that for you. 4 5 Shipley: Okay. And the other thing, I guess the concern I had was with regard to 6 the dogs because if they're going to be a cattery why do they need to even 7 do the ... have the dogs there? 8 9 Montana: Well again I'll let the applicant ... 10 11 Shipley: Okay. 12 13 Montana: Answer that for you. 14 15 Crane: I'm going to ask a question about odor. This may not be anything that 16 concerns the city but I'll ask you first, are there any concerns on the part of 17 the city regarding how the cat litter is handled when the cage is cleaned 18 out and stuff is put outside. How's it picked up etc? 19 20 Montana: Well, Commissioner we had no concern about the odor. It would be 21 disposed of at least on a weekly basis with the city collection. 22 23 Crane: Thank you. Any other questions for Ms. Montana? Thank you Ms. 24 Montana. Would the applicant like to come and speak? Please identify 25 yourself and then I will swear you in. 26 27 Shipley: Mr. Chairman before we start there's one thing I'd like to point out. In the 28 submittal there's a paragraph that says the land outside the wall is used 29 for customer parking as well as the location for the City of Las Cruces 30 garage container. I think it was supposed to garbage container. 31 32 Montana: Garbage. 33 34 Crane: Thank you. 35 36 Markman: My name is Anne Markman and I'm one of four partners that are working 37 on this project. 38 39 Crane: Are you going to be the one spokesman for the group? 40 41 Markman: Yes I am. 42 43 Crane: Do you swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the 44 truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law? 45 46 Markman: Yes I do. 9 1 2 Crane: Thank you. Please proceed. 3 4 Markman: We're also part of a group that is dealing with trap, neuter, and return, 5 because Dona Ana County has a large cat population that ... and we're 6 trying to make a dent in that so that there aren't as many cats being killed 7 at the shelter. Any cat that is a feral cat that runs, that roams freely if it is 8 trapped it is taken to the shelter and it is euthanized. Last year 9 approximately 500,000 cats were euthanized. We're trying to make a dent 10 in that population so that no kittens eventually will be born and that if 11 kittens are born that we're able to socialize them and have a place where 12 they can be taken to be adopted. Right now the facilities in Las Cruces for 13 pet adoptions are very limited. You have Petsmart which is run by HSSM. 14 You have the Animal Shelter with four locations; Pets Barn is one of them, 15 Petco is another. We basically don't have a freestanding adoption center 16 for cats right now and yet we have a very large foster network where we 17 foster cats out to be socialized and then we struggle to try to find places 18 for these cats and forever homes for them to be adopted. If we're allowed 19 to have this cattery that will give us a facility that is on a permanent basis 20 that people can come look at the cats, socialize them, work with them, and 21 they'll be adopted and they will find forever homes. So it really is a 22 concern that we don't have a permanent adoption facility. So a group of 23 four of us got together, we will be forming another non-profit if the special 24 permit is granted and the variances are granted, so that we can run this as 25 a non-profit and charge a nominal fee to the public to adopt a cat. The 26 cats that would be adopted would be sterilized, they would have a rabies 27 shot, they would have some of their boosters. So we're offering a 28 package deal to anybody who wants to adopt a cat, give it a forever home, 29 and at a very very reasonable price. And of course we will be advertising 30 and trying also to raise donations to be able to not expand the size, but to 31 be able to take care of more cats because we just have a real big problem 32 here in the county and we just have too many cats that are being 33 euthanized. And I would love to answer whatever questions you had. 1 34 believe Commissioner Crane you mentioned something about odor. 35 36 Crane: Yes I was curious as to how often the litter material would be removed and 37 would it be bagged and so on. 38 39 Markman: Material would be removed on a daily basis. It would also be removed on 40 the weekends. Our goal would be of course to put it into the container that 41 the city would pick up. I unfortunately have six cats which is my limit for 42 the county and I do not have a problem at all with odor. The cat boxes are 43 sifted and cleaned twice a day and the more conscientious you are about 44 doing that the less problems you have. It's healthier for the cat and I just 45 normally dispose of the litter in my normal trash. I have no problems with 46 odor or anything else. And there are also specific litters you can use that 10 I control odor better than other ones. So we're trying to take into 2 consideration every aspect of it so that it won't be a problem for any of the 3 neighbors at all. 4 5 Crane: And the litter goes into tied garbage bags? 6 7 Markman: Yes. 8 9 Crane: Thank you. Commissioners. Commissioner Ferrary. 10 11 Ferrary: Ms. Markman I was wondering if someone was going to be there overnight 12 or just you know during the early morning till evening? 13 14 Markman: Right now we have a considerable amount of people who want to 15 volunteer and help. We're still trying to figure out the best time element for 16 these people to because we would need the litter to be cleaned twice daily 17 if we can work out that sort of an arrangement. I don't believe there'll be 18 anybody there at night. One of the advantages you did mention and if 1 19 could sort of go on a little bit beside about the wrought iron gate in the 20 front. One of the advantages to this place for us is the fact that it has a 21 wall around it and it has that wrought iron gate that we can lock. We don't 22 really want to become a depository for people just to drop cats off on when 23 they've decided they don't want them anymore and we're hoping that the 24 fact that there's a security system already in the building, there's a six-foot 25 high wall, and we have this wrought iron gate in front that it will deter 26 people from just dropping off their unwanted animals. And the other thing 27 that you need to know right now, we are ... it'll be under a non-profit. 28 There's the Coalition for Pets and People, there is Dona Ana Pets Alive, 29 Action Program for Animals, the Dona Ana Big Kitty Fix, this is a whole 30 consolidation of quite a few non-profits trying to solve a problem and this 31 property is an ideal location for us to be able to do this. 32 33 Ferrary: Thank you. 34 35 Crane: Excuse me. People will however be able to bring in an animal during your 36 opening ... the hours that you're open. That is your intention to accept 37 animals? 38 39 Markman: Our intention is not to accept animals. That would be the animal shelter's 40 responsibility. We don't want people surrendering animals there. What 41 we want to do is to be able to ... as I mentioned before, we have a very 42 large foster network. People take five, six cats to work with them and 43 when they're ready for adoption probably five months old, then those cats 44 will be brought into this cattery and those are the ones that we would be 45 putting up for adoption. We really don't want to become a receptacle for 46 surrendered animals. I1 1 2 Crane: Along that line are you going to put up a sign of any kind identifying what 3 ... that it is a cattery? 4 5 Markman: Yes. 6 7 Crane: I guess it's a foster residence, right for one. 8 9 Markman: We would just call it a pet adoption center right now. I mean it's certainly 10 up for discussion as to the name of the facility; The Cat's Meow, Pet 11 Adoption Facility. I don't know what sort of signage we will put up at this 12 point. We're really just in the planning phases and this was the biggest 13 hurdle for us to come up against right now. 14 15 Crane: If I may direct your business a little, it seems to me that you're going to get 16 a lot of ... you tend to get a lot of drop-ins. People are going to see that 17 sign and think oh they accept cats, so perhaps you need to put up 18 something saying no drop-offs or whatever. Please speak in your mike. 19 20 Markman: We would have a sign out that says no surrenders here please. 21 22 Crane: Okay. Thank you. Any other questions for the applicant? Thank you. 23 Any other members? Thank you ma'am. 24 25 Markman: Thank you very much. We do have some other members here that I think 26 would like to have a couple of minutes. 27 28 Crane: By all means. Anyone like to come up and say a few words? Don't be 29 shy. Please speak into the mike, identify yourself and I'll swear you in. 30 31 Corella, Evening. My name is Michelle Corella. 32 33 Crane: Do you swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the 34 truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law? 35 36 Corella: I do. 37 38 Crane: Thank you. 39 40 Corella: First thank you very much for your consideration of this project. As Anne 41 mentioned earlier we think that this is a very very important step toward 42 making Las Cruces and Dona Ana County into a no-kill community. Cats 43 are the largest species that lose their lives at the shelter and they are a bit 44 more challenging to find homes for in this community than dogs are. So 45 we think that this facility is definitely a step in the right direction. We have 46 a lot of seasoned volunteers who are very cat savvy, who are very eager 12 I to help us make this project succeed. As Anne mentioned we're still kind 2 of working out the details of how all of the volunteer operation and such 3 would work but those cats would be well cared for, cared for on a daily 4 basis, and everybody that's invested in this project is very very attuned to 5 cats specifically. I've had other animals all my life but I'm really a cat 6 person and I think that you know a lot of the folks that are here tonight are 7 also cat people. So you could rest assured that we would be good 8 neighbors and would be a benefit to the community in general. And we 9 really do want to you know help promote this facility and you know do 10 good things for the animals in this community. Thanks very much for your 11 time. 12 13 Crane: Thank you. Any questions of Ms. Corella? Mr. Beard. 14 15 Beard: I think your project is a good project if you can save a cat. But I don't 16 understand how you're going to reduce the feral population. 17 18 Corella: Trap, neuter, return is kind of a separate project. I happen to be the 19 director of the NMSU feral cat management program. I've been involved 20 with that project almost since its inception in 2002, and we have reduced 21 the community cat free roaming campus population on the NMSU main 22 campus by about 75% in that period of time. And a trap, neuter, return 23 program works very well for felines species very much so because of their 24 habits. They're very territorial creatures, they like to live communally and 25 by and large they discourage outside cats from coming into their territory. 26 So if you can sterilize the members of that colony you sort of create a 27 bubble, a no growth bubble. And if you do that often enough those 28 bubbles begin to converge and that's essentially what's happened on the 29 NMSU campus. It's taken a lot of time. TNR does not happen overnight, 30 but we've been trapping and removing cats in Dona Ana County, I've got 31 statistics since 1989. Since that time we've killed over 100,000 cats in this 32 community at taxpayer expense. So if you add that money up it literally 33 adds up to millions of dollars in a very very poor community that could be 34 spending that money better elsewhere. TNR is a privately funded 35 endeavor. It does not involve taxpayer dollars, city, county dollars. It's all 36 privately funded either through individuals or through grants which is what 37 we're hoping to pursue now that we have been able to get you know a 38 legalized standard for TNR in the county. So we intend to pursue some 39 grants that are going to help us off set those expenses. 40 41 Beard: So are you going to release some of these cats back into the 42 neighborhood? 43 44 Corella: No sir. The cats that are in this facility are not feral cats. These cats are 45 cats that are going to be socialized or are already socialized and will be 46 made available for adoption into private households. They will not be 13 I released into that neighborhood. We're talking about two totally different 2 things here. 3 4 Beard: But doesn't the county do ... doesn't the shelter do that right now? 5 6 Corella, The shelter ... 7 8 Beard: I mean you can't take a cat from the shelter unless it's going to be 9 neutered, or can you? 10 11 Corella: The shelter does require sterilization. That is correct. So cats that are 12 being adopted or taken from the shelter as a rescue, there are standards 13 including sterilization, rabies vaccination, microchipping, things of that 14 nature. 15 16 Beard: So you're just supplementing what they're doing? 17 18 Corella: We're basically giving them ... we're basically making additional adoption 19 venues available. We really, when you look collectively at the number of 20 stable adoption venues in this community of 200,000 give or take 21 residents, you have the shelter which has a relatively small adoption area 22 for cats; you have Pets Barn I think they have like six kennels, you have 23 Petco which may have six to 10 kennels; you have Petsmart which is run 24 by a non-profit, the Humane Society of Southern New Mexico and 1 25 believe they have six kennels. So we're talking about probably less 26 collectively than 100 kennels for a community of 200,000 for cats and ... 27 28 Crane: Excuse me, by kennels do you mean in this instance one cage? 29 30 Corella: One cage, yes sir. Yes. 31 32 Crane: Thank you 33 34 Corella: So it's a very small number. And we would just really like to boost that 35 number to be able to get these cats moving into households. 36 37 Beard: Thank you. 38 39 Crane: Commissioner Ferrary. 40 41 Ferrary: I think I read it, but how many kennels or cats are you going to try and 42 have in the facility, about 30? 43 44 Corella: Roughly 30, yes ma'am. 45 46 Ferrary: Yes. Well I think it's a great idea and very helpful. I help with boxer 14 I rescue and know how hard it is to find foster homes and sounds like 2 everyone involved already is a foster home and this'll just make it so you 3 can expand a little bit more. I think it's wonderful. 4 5 Corella: Thank you. 6 7 Ferrary: Great idea. 8 9 Corella: Thank you very much. 10 11 Crane: Any other questions Commissioners? Thank you Ms Corella. 12 13 Corella: Thank you. 14 15 Crane: Any other member of the public? Yes sir. 16 17 Sims: My name is Jake Sims. And I represent one of the member ... one of the 18 four organizations which is called AWARE, Animal Welfare and 19 Responsibility Education. 20 21 Crane: Do you swear Mr. Sims and affirm that the testimony that you are about to 22 give is the truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law? 23 24 Sims: I do. 25 26 Crane: Thank you sir. Continue. 27 28 Sims: A couple of things strike me. I started fostering cats about six years ago 29 for the shelter. I still have some of those cats because there was no outlet 30 for getting them adopted. They grew up, they start off as kittens, they 31 grew up, that's what got me interested in this project. We need more 32 places that we can get more cats out and adopted. The location is ideal. 33 The owner is a client of mine and he's getting us ... we've been looking for 34 a place that we could afford, had the visibility, and had security and this 35 wrought iron fence around the whole place plus the building itself has a 36 very sophisticated security system. So we have security. We have an 37 owner who's very cooperative, he's given us extremely good rate to lease 38 the property. And as a foster and realizing that there ... as Michelle may 39 have mentioned there's very limited outsources, so it's like you need more 40 ... it's like a retail operation. You need more places where people can see 41 the animals, where you can promote their availability and people can 42 come meet them, socialize with them, and select a cat. It also ties into like 43 the trap, neuter, return because you're going to always end up and I've 44 been involved in that side as a colony manager and you'll catch kittens 45 and they'll ... before you've got the animal spayed, (inaudible) you have to 46 get the kitten socialized, but then you have to have an outlet for them. 15 I And that's a serious problem. We don't have the outlet and that's why 1 2 feel very strongly about this project. The location is good, it's visible, it's 3 safe. Michelle was adding ... I was a shelter's team captain for Pet Barn 4 for a couple of years and we had six cages or crates type arrangement. 1 5 think six at Petsmart, that's 12. Pet Barn, I mean Petco has I think six so 6 there's 18 cats, I don't know how many the shelter has but we probably 7 have 30 or 40 holding capacity while you're trying to get animals adopted. 8 Sometimes it takes three or four months to get a cat adopted. So we 9 really need to increase that capacity. Plus you have all the fosters like me 10 who have these cats they're trying to get adopted so we need the space. 11 So I guess that's why I feel so passionately about this. It really meets our 12 criteria; we can afford it, it's safe for the cats, and it's a goof venue for 13 getting public exposure. One final element, there's a lot of education that 14 needs to be done and this will serve as an education resource also 15 because we can help people learn how to take care of cats, how not to 16 have cats you know when you don't want them, and how to help find them 17 good homes. So that's kind ... that's very passionate thing I see. 18 19 Crane: Thank you Mr. Sims. Any Commissioner have a question for Mr. Sims? 20 Thank you sir. 21 22 Sims: Thank you. 23 24 Crane: Any other member of the public wish to speak. Yes ma'am. 25 26 Whittaker: Good evening. My name is Ilene Whittaker. And ... 27 28 Crane: Do you swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the 29 truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law? 30 31 Whittaker: I do. 32 33 Crane: Thank you. Continue. 34 35 Whittaker: I'd also like to point out that this is a good way, the cattery, to take cats 36 and kittens out of the cycle of being killed because there just are not 37 enough homes for this many cats and kittens. Sending them to the shelter 38 is certainly for a cat a death sentence. And it's heartbreaking that a cat or 39 a kitten should have to die because there's no home for them. And this 40 would give some of those cats and kittens an opportunity, a chance at life 41 to have a good home. Thank you. 42 43 Crane: Thank you ma'am. Any questions? All right. Any other members of the 44 public wish to speak? Yes ma'am. 45 46 Munei: Good evening. My name's Michelle Munei. I'm the director of the other 16 I organization involved in this project, Action Programs for Animals. 2 3 Crane: Ma'am, can I interrupt and swear you in. 4 5 Munei: Oh I'm sorry. 6 7 Crane: Do you swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the 8 truth and nothing but the truth under penalty of law? 9 10 Munei: Yes. 11 12 Crane: Thank you. 13 14 Munei: I run ... we run the pet food bank which would be housed in this location 15 as well. And we run the save a kitten project with other organizations and 16 businesses in town. Last year alone during the kitten season my 17 organization pulled and rescued more than 250 kittens, 80% or more of 18 those from the Animal Shelter using just foster homes. And using an 19 adoption system not ideal cause it created a lot of work for us where we 20 would put kittens in the home before they were sterilized and have to 21 follow-up very stringently to make sure they were sterilized before we 22 processed the adoption and you can imagine the more resources we have 23 for cats in this community the better, there are just too many of them and 24 there is not a lot of outlets. We also rescue dogs, so we do off-site 25 adoptions every weekend. A lot easier with dogs, you can take them and 26 show them anywhere. You can do it outside. With cats you need an 27 indoor venue and those are hard to come by. If you have any questions 28 about our rescue operations or the pet food bank I'd be happy to answer 29 them. 30 31 Crane: Thank you. Commissioners? Thank you ma'am. 32 33 Munei: Okay. Thank you. 34 35 Crane: Anyone else from the public? Then we'll close this to further discussion. 36 Commissioners, what is your wish? And notice that we can if we wish 37 combine the motion, the SUP and the two variances in one motion. I think 38 it was number one on Ms. Montana's list. 39 40 Ferrary: Thank you for getting that. I'd like to move that we vote yes to approve 41 the SUP to allow the cattery and related to the uses. 42 43 Shipley: Point of order. 44 45 Crane: Yes. 46 17 I Shipley: I think we need a little discussion before we ... 2 3 Crane: We can have a motion and then discuss. 4 5 Shipley: Okay. 6 7 Ferrary: So I'll finish it and then we'll do. And then to approve the subject parcel 8 and to grant the variance, both variance requests. 9 10 Crane: Okay. You see we did have a choice here Mr. Shipley as to how to word 11 our motion. We were given some alternatives. So we have to settle what 12 it is before we debate. You follow? 13 14 Shipley: Well I was going to say you may not need one of the variances because 15 ... that's so ... you've got a motion but you haven't got a second so I'll wait 16 till you do that. 17 18 Crane: Okay, is there a second to Commissioner Ferrary's motion. Seconded by 19 Commissioner Beard. 20 21 Beard: Second. 22 23 Crane: Okay, we're open for discussion. Commissioner Shipley. 24 25 Shipley: Well the point of this is ... in my opinion is one of the responsibilities we 26 have ... we have a lot that's big enough to handle all the use. We have a 27 landscape contractor that owns that. It's a nonconforming use by the 28 city's code currently because it's a grandfathered nonconforming use. 29 They're going to change the use now so the owner has the responsibility 30 to make it conform. He's ... part of their motion is they're going to ... he's 31 going to change the driveways and take out one driveway and put in two, 32 and they're going to be the right length and they're going to be ADA 33 compliant. The second he could do is he could relocate the fence two-feet 34 back therefore you don't need the second variance, you just need the one 35 variance for the ... that. And it's still his property so he's improving his 36 property. He still can use the same fence that he's got there right now and 37 that could be a requirement as opposed to doing it the other way around 38 and just giving a variance. 39 40 Crane: Ms. Montana could you elucidate or comment? 41 42 Montana: Thank you Commissioners. The existing landscape contractor yard is an 43 allow use in the C-2 district. So it's not a nonconforming use. The nursery 44 is also an allowable use. So the existing use is confirming use. So 45 changing from legally conforming use or allowable use to this special use 46 permit would trigger the new parking requirements, and therefore the 18 I request for the reduction in the backup driving aisle. The applicant 2 certainly ... the owner certainly could move the fence back however he, as 3 was mentioned by the applicant, is granting a significant reduction in rent 4 for the first two or three years to this nonprofit and is reluctant to carry that 5 expense. 6 7 Crane: Let me clarify that he's not obliged to do that change, right? I mean if he's 8 asking for the variance instead of meeting the zoning requirement, 9 regarding the parking. 10 11 Montana: Yes, the parking redesign was sort of negotiated between the applicants 12 and our traffic engineer, Willy Roman, and they've come to an agreement 13 about the redesign. And that redesign necessitated the reduction in the 14 backup driving aisle from 27 to 25-feet. The parking could be redesigned 15 again if this Commission declined to grant the reduction in the driving 16 aisle. 17 18 Crane: Thank you. Does that meet your needs Mr. Shipley? 19 20 Shipley: No. I just want ... just ... I want to be sure that I understand this. The 21 current use they have ... they have backup driving requirements right now 22 which are not compliant even though that was not done ... I mean this 23 property was laid out ... 24 25 Montana: Twenty-five years, yes. 26 27 Shipley: Twenty-five years ago. Then so there was no 27-foot requirement like 28 there is today? 29 30 Montana: That is correct. 31 32 Shipley: Correct. So if they change use there going from the landscape contractor 33 mode to some other nonconforming use that's not allowed there now, 34 that's what they need this variance and special use permit to do, then 35 they're supposed to comply with the code as it's written and that would be 36 by ... in my opinion, that would be by moving that fence two-feet the other 37 direction. And then it wouldn't require a variance. I mean that's just cut 38 and dry. If I were the owner of the property that would be an improvement 39 just by moving the fence to make it more compliant, to make it more ... if 40 this business doesn't succeed in a year or two years or five years or 41 whatever, then he wouldn't have to do it again. But it's going to come 42 back before us again if something changes in the future. So, my point is 1 43 think there's an easy solution there is to move the fence and then you 44 don't need this variance and then they can go forward with that. 45 46 Crane: Commissioner Beard. 19 1 2 Beard: If we were to approve the ... both variances and then say two years from 3 now the ... this organization wants to buy the property, would they have to 4 come back and have that variance approved again for the buy of the 5 property? 6 7 Montana: Commissioners, no they would not. If this Commission granted a variance 8 with the condition that it would be for two years and then the applicant 9 would have to come back for a permanent reduction in the backup aisle, 10 then they would have to come back to you. But if you granted it as is 11 requested today, they would not have to come back. 12 13 Beard: Even though they were going to buy it? 14 15 Montana: That is correct. It's simply the use. 16 17 Beard: Well I think we should put a stipulation in there then. If we approve it. 18 19 Montana: That it be for a two-year period you mean? 20 21 Shipley: I don't know what you mean by stipulation I don't think I would stipulate a 22 two-year period. I just think that if the fence can be moved, you know and 23 reinstalled two feet back or whatever the case might be, that solves the 24 problem, that gives them adequate backup driving distance and all ... 25 they're doing that. The other reason I'm saying to do that now is because 26 they're going to be doing concrete work to fix the two driveways, to make 27 them ADA compliant, so you can take a backhoe in there and that what 28 his business is, is a landscape contractor, he can drill the holes to move 29 the posts, take the fence out, set it back, fill the holes in and he's good to 30 go. It's not a very expensive operation to do that. 31 32 Beard: I agree. 33 34 Crane: Commissioner Beard. 35 36 Beard: I just don't want it to be permanent. I mean I don't want the variance to be 37 permanent. 38 39 Shipley: I don't want ... I don't like to do variances at all if there's a workable 40 solution because that defeats the code. I mean that's why we have a 41 code that says this is what we have to do. If we're not going to follow the 42 code and we're going to have ... all we're going to be doing is offering 43 variances then throw the code out. 44 45 Crane: Commissioner Ferrary. 46 20 I Ferrary: Yes, I was wondering, has there been an estimate made of what it would 2 cost to move that fence back? 3 4 Montana: Commissioners, no, no there has not. 5 6 Crane: Very well. We have a motion before us to approve the SUP and both the 7 variances. We have to vote on that motion. If it fails, parliamentarian, Mr. 8 Legal Department. I know he's there. 9 10 Beard: Well maybe we could ... maybe we could see how we agree on this 11 variance right now before we vote. If there's enough of us that agree that 12 this ... that a variance should not be allowed ... 13 14 Crane: Then we vote down on this and what I'm seeking sir, if we were offered 15 alternatives for dealing with this application, we've (inaudible) our first 16 alternative in the form of a motion to approve the SUP and both variances. 17 If this motion fails are we free to have another motion, make another 18 motion? I believe we are but I can't think why not. 19 20 Cabello: What would be the purpose of the other motion? 21 22 Crane: Well perhaps since there's at least one Commissioner who's got doubts 23 about approving one of the variances, we could approve the SUP and only 24 one variance. 25 26 Cabello: So you want to approve one variance but not the other. 27 28 Crane: That could happen if this motion that's before us now fails. If it passes it's 29 a moot point. 30 31 Cabello: Okay. I think ... the question is that right now if a motion's already been 32 put on ... 33 34 Crane: We have a motion before us. 35 36 Cabello: The motion before you has to be voted on. If there is still an available 37 variance ... if it's a new question you can still do that. 38 39 Crane: We can. In other words if this fails we can have another motion. 40 41 Cabello: Yes. 42 43 Crane: Okay, thank you sir. Mr. Shipley. 44 45 Shipley: I was going to say you can ... we can vote this ... the first one down. 46 Then you can have a second motion that approves the SUP, the special 21 I use permit, and a variance and makes a condition that the owner of the 2 property has to move the fence back to make it comply. 3 4 Crane: Yeah. That's what I wanted to ensure. But this motion has to fail for that 5 to happen. If this motion passes then that point is moot. They get both 6 variances. 7 8 Shipley: Correct. 9 10 Crane: Okay. Any further comment on this Commissioners? Commissioner 11 Ferrary. 12 13 Ferrary: Yes, I'm concerned that if we have that condition and the owner, because 14 he's giving a discount and making sure that they can afford it, that this 15 would not happen. 16 17 Shipley: The owner can always appeal the decision that we make to the City 18 Council. 19 20 Crane: Right. 21 22 Shipley: Okay, and if they want ... and if the City Council wants to change the 23 decision that we make that would be the avenue that they would go to, 24 you know. But the bottom line is we're trying here to basically stay within 25 the guidelines of the code and that's what the purpose of our Commission 26 is, is to make sure that we try to do that as much as possible. If there was 27 some major limitation to doing this, then you know I would see that ... 28 there are times that variances are necessary, but there are times when we 29 overuse the variance when there is a simple solution and instead of doing 30 that we just ... we do it with paper instead of doing it the right way. So ... 31 32 Crane: Commissioner Beard. 33 34 Beard: I basically agree. There is a hardship thing that you know if they say if 35 there's a hardship involved then we can use that as a consideration, but 36 that has not been brought up in this meeting. So I don't think that we 37 should be getting involved in the cost part of it between the parties. 38 39 Crane: Thank you Commissioner. Any other Commissioner wish to comment? 40 Then let's vote on the proposal to the SUP and both variances be 41 approved. We'll take the roll call starting with Mr. Beard this time and we'll 42 go to the right and then I'll be last. Go ahead sir. 43 44 Beard: No, based on discussions. 45 46 Crane: Commissioner Ferrary. 22 1 2 Ferrary: No based on discussions. 3 4 Crane: Commissioner Stowe. 5 6 Stowe: I vote aye. 7 8 Crane: Commissioner Shipley. 9 10 Shipley: No, based on discussions and site visit. 11 12 Crane: And the Chair votes aye based on discussions and site visit. So the 13 motion fails two for/three against. So given our previous discussion a few 14 minutes ago I'll entertain a motion from I think Mr. Shipley. 15 16 Shipley: Mr. Chairman I move that we approve the special use permit and we grant 17 the variance regarding the 300, or the 400-feet to the nearest residential 18 zoning district per section 38-49.1.C.2.7.D of the City's 2001 Zoning Code 19 as amended. And that we add a condition that the owner of the property 20 will relocate the wrought iron fence to comply with the city's code. 21 22 Crane: The 27-feet. 23 24 Shipley: Yes sir. 25 26 Crane: Correct. Thank you. Is there a second to that motion? 27 28 Stowe: Second. 29 30 Crane: Commissioner Stowe. Ms. Montana. 31 32 Montana: Thank you Commissioners. Commissioner Shipley if another design of 33 the parking lot obviated the need for a variance to the driving aisle backup 34 27-feet, the condition you just placed would require the moving of the 35 wrought iron anyway. 36 37 Shipley: State that again please. 38 39 Montana: If ... your condition ties the SUP and the variance from the distance 40 requirement with the moving of the wrought iron. If the traffic engineer 41 and the applicant redesign the parking lot so they didn't need the 42 reduction in the driving aisle, your condition still would require that the 43 wrought iron fence be moved. 44 45 Crane: You're suggesting that the motion needs to be reworded. 46 23 I Montana: Well perhaps you could just recommend approval of the SUP and the 2 distance requirement period, and not address the driving aisle request. 3 4 Crane: Will that suit you Mr. Shipley? 5 6 Shipley: Well if we ... if we do that then there's no variance for that so then they 7 would just be ... it would ... 8 9 Montana: They would have to meet the 27-feet. 10 11 Shipley: Okay. 12 13 Crane: So you satisfied with that. 14 15 Shipley: Yeah. 16 17 Crane: You withdraw your motion. 18 19 Shipley: That's fine. 20 21 Crane: You withdraw your motion. 22 23 Shipley: I'll just amend the motion to take out the requirement with the condition. 24 25 Crane: Okay. Ms. Ferrary what'd you want to say? 26 27 Ferrary: I just wanted to ask, so they can re-do the plans for the parking so that it 28 would satisfy? 29 30 Montana: That can be done since there is a large parking area and only four spaces 31 required. That could be negotiated with the traffic engineer. 32 33 Crane: Thank you. So, perhaps you'd better say your motion again Mr. Shipley, 34 your revised motion, and we'll ask another second. 35 36 Shipley: Okay. 37 38 Beard: Second. 39 40 Shipley: Wait a second. 41 42 Crane: Not now you crazy fool. He wants to go home. 43 44 Shipley: I move to approve a special use permit request to allow a cattery and a 45 pet adoption center with a variance to allow the cattery to be located within 46 the 400-feet of the nearest residential zoning district per section 38- 24 I 49.1.C.2.7.D of the City's 2001 Zoning Code as amended, and that's it. 2 3 Crane: Commissioner Beard, you want to second? 4 5 Beard: Second. 6 7 Crane: Okay. Any discussion? Then we'll go to a vote, this time we'll start with 8 Mr. Shipley. 9 10 Shipley: Aye, findings ... aye discussion and site visit. 11 12 Crane: Commissioner Stowe. 13 14 Stowe: Aye, findings, discussion, and site visit. 15 16 Crane: Commissioner Ferrary. 17 18 Ferrary: Aye, discussion, site visit, and condition. 19 20 Crane: Commissioner Beard. 21 22 Beard: Aye, based on discussions. 23 24 Crane: And the Chair votes aye based on discussions, findings, and site visit. 25 Thank you all. 26 27 VII. OTHER BUSINESS - NONE 28 29 Crane: Any other business Ms. Montana? 30 31 Montana: No Commissioner, there's not. 32 33 VIII. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 34 35 Crane: Any further participation from the public? 36 37 IX. STAFF ANNOUNCEMENTS 38 39 Crane: Staff announcements. 40 41 Montana: None. 42 43 X. ADJOURNMENT (7:05) 44 45 Crane: All right. So we stand adjourned at five after seven. Thank you all. 46 25 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chairperson 7 8 26