Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Animal Shelter: New site purchase approved


WINDOW ART — The Animal Shelter on Placerville Drive has its windows decorated by Charlie Fisher, right, and Michael Hanson, left, both of Placerville. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

From page A1 | July 19, 2013 | 20 Comments

It was a full house on Tuesday as the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted to move ahead and purchase property for the future site of the Western Slope Animal Shelter.

Sporting an existing building as well as acreage for livestock, the board authorized spending $1.86 million for the 4.73-acre site at 6425 Capitol Avenue in Diamond Springs. Located in an existing industrial park, three sides of the property abut industrial uses with a residential subdivision to the west.

The total project budget for the shelter is $5.7 million, including the purchase price of the property.

The issue drew a large audience of supporters for the proposal as well as those who agree there’s a need for a new shelter but not at the proposed site, with most of those opposed being residents of the Springwood subdivision.

Providing an overview of plans for the site were architect Charlie Downs of Annova-Nexis, Project Manager Brent Collins, and Henry Brzezinski, chief of Animal Services. They reported they had looked at more than 100 properties, negotiated on six and then whittled that number down to one.

Downs promised to build a state-of-the-art facility that would minimize noise, odor and animal behavior problems. Separate areas would be designed for those surrendering or coming to pick up their animals from those who come to adopt, in order to create a memorable experience.

Discussing animal control services, Brzezinski noted that his department handles around 3,000 animals a year. While they deal with some livestock cases, they are limited in number. Last year they only took in 28 livestock who stayed an average of less than four days. Of that number, 16 were horses and half were impounded on site and sent to foster families for care. The department also does a lot of educational programs on caring for animals, he said, plus helps rescue animals during disasters, conducts investigations of cruelty, provides licensing services, and helps resolve disputes between neighbors involving animals.

Brzezinski said the county’s animal shelter meets Humane Society industry standards and his staff are very diligent about removing waste and using safe insect control.

“Consolidation will help our operations because we are currently scattered among three locations,” he said. “The new location will make us more efficient and help us adopt out more animals.”

When asked about how long the new shelter would be good for, Brzezinski estimated it would enable the county to provide animal care services for the next 50 years.

Not here, plea residents

However, despite these presentations, not everyone in the audience was convinced that this was the best location for the new animal shelter or that potential problems would be mitigated.

John Staley, who lives in Springwood, said he supported the idea of a new shelter but claimed the odors and noises from the shelter would affect his property and the animal wastes would attract insects and rodents, which he said violated the county’s ordinances.

“If there is no odor, no dust, no glare, no noise, no waste material then our new neighbors are welcomed with open arms,” he said. But Staley doubted the shelter would be able to comply with the county’s own ordinances.

Laurel Stroud, who also lives in Springwood, said she was primarily concerned about how the county went about selecting the site, claiming Diamond Springs had become a dumping ground for projects like these as the county searched for the cheapest deal it could get. She listed a number of concerns, saying the area for the shelter was too small, the draft EIR was a sham, and there was little concern for the public good.

“You owe us much better than this,” she said.

Other residents worried about the glare from lights at the shelter, the potential for flooding and how it would affect their quality of life.

However, the proposal also drew accolades from animal welfare groups whose members arrived in droves for the hearing.

Charlene Welty, president of PAWED (People for Animal Welfare in El Dorado County) said she thought the site was excellent and it met all their requirements. While acknowledging residents’ concerns, she assured those in the audience that the facility would be a good neighbor.

Barbara Lee of the Animal Shelter Coalition for El Dorado County, also spoke favorably of the purchase as did Dr. Lisa S. Couper, a local vet and board member of PAWED. She said the shelter would protect people as well as ensure the welfare of animals. 

Discussion of the concerns raised by residents had the architect promising to look again at mitigating issues like runoff and treatment of waste material.

That discussion prompted a comment by County Counsel Ed Knapp who said that zoning ordinances don’t apply to the county; nonetheless, the county chooses to self-impose standards on itself.

Amid groans from the audience, staff and the board affirmed that the same standards that apply to any developer in an industrial zone will be followed by the county.

With those issues set aside, the board voted unanimously to proceed with purchasing the property along with issuing a negative declaration on the project.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter


Discussion | 20 comments

  • JimBoJuly 18, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    They looked far and wide across El Dorado County, they examined over 100 potential sites and this was the only one that suited the County's needs for an Animal Shelter? If you believe that, you are easily fooled, for the County first tried to put the Health and Human Services Mental Health Department in this same building in March of 2012. That's right, over a year ago and four months ago! Back then the County had a completely different use for this building. The site selection was not about the best suitable location for an Animal Shelter, it had to do with where the County could steal a building for the cheapest amount of money. Also, if memory serves me right - Charlie Downs has never designed an animal shelter in his career. The lack of a full blown EIR and the County's conflict of interest in preparing its own negative declaration leaves the County wide open to litigation.

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  • Phil VeerkampJuly 19, 2013 - 10:44 am

    Melody, are you saying that this article will not accept your comments?

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  • FranJuly 19, 2013 - 10:46 am

    winning the "main street" painting competition is really a gift--for many untold reasons...

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  • FranJuly 19, 2013 - 10:59 am "Make it Right" foundation (Brad Pitt) is very funny about buildings being done properly (all buildings)...all the names listed in this article would be very embarrassed making the above statements if it were not true right? 100 possible sites? Wow

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  • Phil VeerkampJuly 19, 2013 - 11:11 am

    Fran, you've lost me. What in the hell does brad pitt have to do with the animal shelter issue. He like puppies? He like kitties? WTF!

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  • FranJuly 19, 2013 - 12:03 pm

    Phil...once again--I am providing means for people to find help--if the people in the article or at the board meeting did not tell the whole truth. Part of winning the main street contest is that it is backed by Brad pit...and the many organizations that he suppots. The people who are saying that the people defending the new animal shelter have not told the whole truth..can go to the many web sites to ask for help. It seems he does like puppies and kittens..and is an advocate of building things the right way. The community has also said that the shelter will not be built in a correct manner. I have not been to the not know about the issues except for what is written in this paper. Im just helping a nice way.

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  • FranJuly 19, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    sorry Brad Pitt...El dorado has invited huge names to come in and help..."main street" winning is huge. People can now see if the other foundations that support this win can help with other issues.

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  • Melody LaneJuly 19, 2013 - 7:00 pm

    Data provided at the BOS Tuesday was 3,000 animals per YEAR at the Animal Shelter. That does not include critters that are dumped after hours and left to run loose & repopulate. Question is, would PAWD or the Supervisors have been as enthusiastic if the site selected was 100 feet from their own back door? Watch the video to glean a more accurate perspective about the rigged fiasco (click on Item #35 to go directly to that segment of the video):

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  • Cheeka latteJuly 19, 2013 - 11:12 pm

    It's come to my attention that you people complain a lot. You don't appear to be happy with anything that happens in Placerville. Accept for Fran, she posts random comments all over the place! She goes from fires to painting. Is your life as random as your comments you post?

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  • FranJuly 20, 2013 - 7:34 am

    latte--yep...random...but only since politics around here have become random.

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  • FranJuly 20, 2013 - 7:44 am

    I am also waiting for people to learn how to spell their own names..or at least their blogging ones ...chica (wink) Unless you actually meant to spell it that way...shame on you...tsk tsk...this is a "clean" and sane wall...

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  • Huh?July 20, 2013 - 8:15 am

    This is the comment section of a newspaper, NOT a blog. Blogging has actual content, focused subject matter, readers who subscribe, etc. Twitter has evolved into a micro version of blogging - content, multi-source content, followers, etc. for example. In practice, this thing operates more like a private chat room for the 8-10 people who are regular "contributors". The detours, side trails and off topic posts create a lot clutter that makes it difficult to find perspectives on the core subject of an article. Stop calling this a blog...

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  • FranJuly 20, 2013 - 8:21 am

    lolololol...good morning...does that make your comment better than mine? lolololol

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  • FranJuly 20, 2013 - 8:27 am

    Well my web log is random...have fun. (shhhhhh I think the wall is only five people--that use different names)

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  • Cheeka latteJuly 20, 2013 - 11:35 am

    Just a random made up name. Just like Fran could be Frank, Francis, etc. It would be nice if the comments pertained to the subject at hand. Instead of off topic babble.

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  • pvl resJuly 20, 2013 - 11:44 am

    "Huh?" is right. This is not a blog. I've seen you use that term incorrectly in the past. Hard to take you seriously when you repeatedly use a work incorrectly.

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  • pvl resJuly 20, 2013 - 11:46 am

    word not work. Sorry for the typo.

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  • FranJuly 20, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    lololol...Wiki would be proud of you guys and your definition of "blogging"--hold on tight to your urban dictionaries as just would ignore my blogs--posts backwards logs...lolololol...there are no rules...I am also happy that I am bringing people together--if only to agree I am using an "open" word incorrectly.

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  • G'Town WhistlerJuly 20, 2013 - 3:46 pm

    Ya gotta admit this has become a dumping ground for off the wall diversions that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. "WTF" comments prove the low intelligence of certain bloggers.

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  • James E.July 20, 2013 - 3:55 pm

    Well, some low IQs may be revealed, but this site is like a town meeting where everyone can jump in with whatever is on their mind. To be rigid as to content would detract from us trying to communicate various thoughts and ideas. And, the final way to deal with wandering comments: Don't read them.

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