Great Rebuilding News!

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 Zoning Board meeting and we have been granted a 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.

Jan 19 update: We now have permission to demolish the previous shelter building and demolition has started!

We hope to start construction of our new shelter within a few weeks (depending on snow conditions and weather).

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

Background for Rebuild & Reorganization

Town & Zoning Updates:

Our animal shelter and the boarding kennels were closed while we obtained permits, and renew licenses.

Demolition – there were some legal issues with removing the fire-damaged building; sorting these out delayed our ability to rebuild fast – as did sorting our zoning issues.

The previous Sweetpea Board proposed a larger shelter building – this concerned the town because the site is less than 5 acres (only 3.5). But even using the previous shelter footprint, we needed a zoning variance because we do not have 150 ft. setback from the road. This has now been granted.

We also needed to investigate what type of surveillance system we would need when we rebuild. Cameras installed can be accessed from home but due to privacy panels it’s impossible to see all pens – this was discussed with the security company and we are following the issue 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.