Guilford animal rescuer sues PZC for license denial


Last November, a neighbor emailed the city’s zoning enforcement officer and health director alleging that Demond’s property had brought in flies, rats, odors and more. problems. These issues have been resolved, according to the city.

In January, Demond received a cease and desist order from a city zoning enforcer, ordering him to stop carrying out the rescue from his property at 311 Old Whitfield St., near Guilford station. She appealed the order in February and received an application for a special permit, which Demond submitted in April.

This summer, the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the permit, during which Demond and his supporters and detractors testified. One month after the hearing, in August, Demond’s request for a special permit to enable philanthropic nonprofit wildlife rescue was denied.

Now, Demond has filed a pending complaint against the Planning and Zoning Commission for its decision.

Demond spoke of his frustrations with the denial of his permit application.

“I basically did everything the Zoning Compliance Officer asked me to do,” she said.

The legal deposits declare that Demond has applied for a special permit under Section 273-16A of the Guilford Zoning Code, which relates to the facilities of philanthropic, charitable, agricultural, historical and cultural institutions or societies that are not conducted in commercial or profit-making title.

Little Rascals Rescue, which Demond has run for nearly a decade, is a non-profit wildlife rescue where abused, abandoned, orphaned and injured wildlife are cared for, rehabilitated and released.

According to state officials, Little Rascals is one of 15 Connecticut wildlife rehabilitators certified to accommodate so-called rabies vector species.

Demond submitted a declaration of use, a professional site plan waiver request, a site plan and other required documents, according to the lawsuit, but his license was denied. Freeman, a commission deputy and neighbor who alerted the enforcement officer, recused himself from Demond’s case.

The decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission cited two code problems with the permit application, including that the use did not comply with the code under which Demond applied because it did not not provided sufficient evidence such as non-profit status and that the architect’s site plan was not based on an A-2 and was not signed by an architect and lacked detail .

The decision also stated that the location of use was not in harmony with the neighborhood, the rescue was not on a plot of sufficient size not to harm neighboring land, the architectural design of the structures conflicted with the architectural design of the properties and that the structures or improvements associated with the salvage would have a significant negative effect on the historic property, according to the lawsuit.

A request for comment on the lawsuit was not returned by the Planning and Zoning Commission, the city clerk or by the lawyer representing the commission.

Demond said the city “threw a bone” at her and offered her the use of land on the street that she could use, but said the city’s expectations were out of reach. especially since the property is a wetland and requires an additional permit.

“They want me to clear it, want me to file all the zoning,” Demond said. “They want me to build portable buildings, basically freestanding buildings, and then they gave me two years to find land.”

To operate for the two years on the property provided by the city, Demond estimated it would cost him around $ 30,000.

The annual operating cost for the rescue is around $ 5,000 to $ 6,000, according to Demond. Most of the operating costs go to infant formula, of which Demond uses 300 pounds a year, to feed baby animals, or medical bills. Many other items are donated by members of the community.

“I get donations of stuffed animals that babies use when they arrive, especially if they are alone they need something to snuggle up on; and this year I have a bunch of pumpkins I’m going to bake and want to make baby food that goes into their formula, ”Demond said, adding blankets and napkins are also being donated.

Without donations and community support, it would be more difficult for the rescue to function. Demond drives a school bus and her husband is disabled at home, so she said there isn’t much room to earn extra money.

While awaiting the results, Demond is still rescuing him. She currently has four raccoons and a possum that just had its teeth pulled out last week in her care.

“Until someone told me that, you know, it’s all said and done in the courts, my lawyer told me to keep doing what I’m doing,” Demond said.

A request for comment from Demond’s lawyer was not returned.

The costs of the suit for the license and one for the cease and desist order will cost approximately $ 20,000.

Right now, Demond’s only bill is a $ 1,500 charge from the lawyers. She said she was grateful for all the community support and donations she received.

As for the outcome of the trial, Demond hopes for a return to normal.

“I hope to start running normally without having to watch my back,” she said.

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