Great Rebuilding News! – October 2017

This photo shows a few Happy Sweetpea Faces! Thank you to all the Volunteers, Neighbors and Paxton residents, supporters and Town Officials! Our Variance and Special Permit were approved at the ZBA meeting tonight! We have 20 a day waiting period and then we can apply for our Permit to Rebuild our Shelter! 🙂

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-0 on Oct. 19 to grant a special permit to Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals, Inc., to reopen, and voted 4-1 to grant a variance for the setback from the road. The setback variance was required because the existing buildings are too close to the property line, as the building was built before the zoning law was enacted.
That means that we can rebuild, once we have the rebuilding permit approved (hopefully soon)!

💖 SWEETPEA STRONG! We are so thankful to all of you for your support!

Status of Rebuild & Reorganization, 2/10/2016

Town & Zoning Updates:

Our animal shelter and the boarding kennels are temporarily closed while we obtain permits, and renew licenses.

Demolition – there are some legal issues with removing the fire-damaged building; sorting these out is delaying our ability to rebuild fast – as is sorting our zoning issues. The lawyer is still working with the building inspector, to sort out zoning issues. The large building proposed was concerning to town because the site is less than 5 acres (only 3.5). Even using the previous shelter footprint, we need a zoning variance because we do not have 150 ft. setback from the road. We need either to apply for a new special permit to run the business in a residential zone without the prior owner’s name on it, or the property needs to be re-zoned from residential/commercial to just commercial. We are also investigating what type of surveillance system we will need when we rebuild. Cameras installed can be accessed from home but due to privacy panels it’s impossible to see all pens – discussed with security company. We are following this up with the town.

Fire & Rebuild History

We were renovating our shelter on the border of Paxton and Rutland when we suffered a disastrous fire on Sunday 11/22/2015. Sweetpea would like to thank everyone for their quick support and for their ability to come together as a community in order to help us. We wish to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of sympathy and practical help that we have received. We have a long way to go, but we will rebuild.

Our main animal shelter building was destroyed by a fire on 11/22/2015, most likely caused by an electrical fault.

The rebuilding plans were put on hold as the previous Sweetpea Board failed to apply to Paxton for permission to rebuild and then submitted a shelter plan which the town felt was too large for a shared commercial/residential zone.  Our new Board of Directors is now working with input from the town on a rebuilding plan.

We can’t replace the animals who perished in the fire – our lost fur-babies will always be in our hearts and our memories, but we can continue to rescue animals as we move on and rebuild.  Thank you to everyone who has supported us in these difficult times – and thank you for the outpouring of generous donations. The response to our disaster has been heartwarming and overwhelming.