Kennels Moved to M-1 Zoning in County Commission Meeting
A controversial zoning ordinance amendment dealing with kennels was summarily passed by the Newton County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday. “We just got out of the kennel business,” commented Commissioner Billy Smith after the unanimous vote.
The ordinance, which was the subject of a public hearing held Tuesday, May 29th, was drawn up to allow the locations of kennels in M-1, or light industrial, zoning. Prior to the adoption of this amendment, the county zoning ordinance did not contain a provision for kennels under any zoning definition. The Newton County Board of Commission recommended the amendment to the Board of Commissioners.
The amendment is considered controversial due to the fact that Life for God’s Stray Animals, a Rockdale County animal shelter, which currently houses approximately 1,100 dogs, cats, and rabbits, is seeking to relocate on a 296-acre tract in western Newton County near the Rockdale County line. The shelter is under a Rockdale County Superior Court order to the shut down the operation. Jerry and Ann Fields, owners of the Shelter, are appealing the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, and a ruling is expected early in July.
The property the Fields are under contract to purchase is zoned agricultural. Although kennels were not a permitted use in any zoned area in Newton County, Sharony said there was nothing in the zoning ordinance prohibiting kennels.
The new zoning amendment defines a kennel as “any location where keeping, raising, grooming, caring for, or boarding of more than three dogs, cats, or other small animals, or combination of these over the age of six months, for commercial, non-profit or humanitarian is carried on within the county. This definition does not include animals raised by private individuals for show, hunting and the like, as long as the number of animals does not exceed fifteen.”
The definition of a kennel in the zoning ordinance prior to approval of this amendment did not exclude the keeping of animals for “non-profit or humanitarian purposes.”
Life for Gods’ Stray Animals is a non-profit organization which has operated on four acres in Rockdale County for 20 years. It was incorporated in 1976.