Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Happiness is a warm puppy…

Or maybe the companionship of an adult dog, or the comfort of a cat purring on your lap. Goochlanders love their critters, but too many get lost, abandoned, or left out in the cold, literally. Connecting furry orphans with loving forever homes is a high priority for the county’s Department of Animal Protection—notice, it’s not called “animal control” here. (Visit the website at: http://goochlandva.us/299/Animal-Protection)

The existing approximately two thousand square foot county animal shelter, located just off Fairground Road at the entrance to Hidden Rock Park, is in violation of state standards. It will soon be replaced with a larger facility better able to care for abandoned animals seeking forever homes and strays waiting to be reunited with their people.

A new 12,000 square foot animal shelter will be built with $3.5 million of county funds on the existing site. The current facility will be raised and that area used for parking.

Thanks to caring local volunteers, a companion non-profit organization, Goochland Pet Lovers(GPL), has been formed to raise $1.2 million or so to build an adoption center that will be part of the new shelter.

At their December 6 meeting, the Goochland Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to an existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP) changing buffers and setback requirements for the new shelter. Board chair Bob Minnick, District 4, recused himself from the vote because a family member is involved with GPL.

During community meetings and the public hearing before the planning commission, neighboring property owners raised concerns about noise and runoff from the new shelter.

Stringent storm water controls, mandated by the state in recent years, require that all runoff contained on the site where it is generated. The new shelter will incorporate sound abatement into its construction.

Tim Clough, Animal Protection Director, presented an update on the shelter project during the afternoon session on December 6. The CUP arrival paves the way for finalization of the construction plans in January.

The latest design includes a spacious and efficient lobby; an isolation area for new arrivals to prevent the spread of disease; additional holding pens; cat condos; and a sally port.

The adoption center, to be funded by GPL, will include areas where people can interact with pets seeking forever homes to ensure a good fit and a happy ending. It will provide educational services and a spay and neuter clinic.

Designed to be built in phases, the new shelter is expected to go to bid in March with ground breaking tentatively scheduled for June.

Tom Winfree, GPL president, told the supervisors that the group is about a third of the way to its fundraising goal. He said that public private partnerships (P3) arrangements show what can be done by raising funds from non-tax sources for community projects.

Expect to hear a lot more from GPL early next year. This is another great example of Goochlanders working together to transform good ideas into reality.

No comments: