LOWER MT. BETHEL TWP., Pa. – The Lower Mount Bethel Township Zoning Hearing Board decided to reschedule a hearing concerning a proposed animal shelter at a meeting Wednesday evening.
The hearing board ultimately decided that there was not enough information provided to grant the Slate Belt Animal Advocacy Group a variance of use for the location in which they were proposing to build an animal shelter for stray cats and dogs.
The Slate Belt Animal Advocacy Group president Christine Mammi is proposing an animal shelter at 9545 Jacktown Road in Bangor. The property includes a stone barn and a house. Mammi says that the organization would utilize all of the existing buildings for the shelter.
The Jacktown Road property is currently owned by Fern Bastinelli. Bastinelli runs a farm with horses, goats and a donkey. Bastinelli said she hopes to sell the property so that she can move to a bigger location, allowing her farm animals to have more space and safety.
Zoning Chairperson Lynn Bartleson said that the Jacktown Road location is in a low-density residential area. Bartleson said that zoning ordinances do not allow the building of animal shelters for that particular zoning.
Bartleson asked Mammi, who was representing herself, if she had prepared a sketch plan for the site. Mammi said she had not. Bartleson requested that the hearing be rescheduled after Mammi could not provide approximate square-footage of the site as well as a sketch plan.
Slate Belt Animal Advocacy Group is a non-profit organization that provides spay and neuter services, adoption, and rescue services. The organization previously owned a property on South Main Street in Bangor, but did not renew a five-year lease, according to Mammi.
Mammi also worked as an animal control officer and is a Pennsylvania-certified Wildlife Transporter. She said she sees a great need for animal control in the area, citing the amount of feral cats and abandoned dogs. Mammi said the organization is mostly fostering pets and handling adoptions at the moment. She said there are currently 28 dogs in foster care through the organization.
The zoning board has rescheduled the hearing for Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m.