While moving forward with a proposed pet crematory, Jerome Township officials voted Tuesday against a zoning code change that would create a new permitted use.
During the zoning application process, Faithful Companion Pet Cremation Services, petitioned to create a new permitted use that would allow for funeral homes for pets.
However, zoning inspector Eric Snowden, who was hired while the code change was in process, said he felt it was an unnecessary addition.
“This code change really just did not need to go forward,” he said.
Snowden explained that the current zoning allows for funeral homes and related services. Since the pet crematory is essentially a funeral home for pets, he said it meets the requirements for a permitted use under the current code.
He said he spoke with representatives from the county, as well as the township zoning commission and both were comfortable with allowing the permitted use under current code.
As a result, Snowden advised trustees to motion to approve the petition, but vote against it to stop the process.
He emphasized that doing so would not hinder the progress of the pet crematory, as he has already approved their application.
“This specific tenant has a certificate of zoning to move forward,” Snowden said.
Trustees voted 3-0 against creating the new permitted use.
In other business:
– Stewart told the trustees that the family that owns property adjacent to the cemetery wants to sell three parcels of land that the township is interested in purchasing.
Although the land does not currently have water or sewer access, he said the township would like to use it to expand the cemetery. The family is asking $68,000 per acre.
Trustees voted to allow Stewart, Director of Departments, to choose a realtor to represent the township in negotiations with the family.
– Stewart said it was discovered that letters containing false information about the recent fire levy was placed in mailboxes throughout the New California area.
The letters, which were distributed by an unknown person or group, listed inaccurate, unattributed facts that advocated against the fire levy.
“No doubt, it had an effect on the outcome of the levy,” Stewart said.
He referenced a district breakdown from the board of elections which indicates the New California area voted over 72% against the levy.
In contrast, most other areas throughout the township voted closer to a 45/55 split of votes, with several districts in favor and against.
Stewart said it is still necessary to approve a future levy in order to provide adequate safety services to the township. He encouraged anyone with questions to reach out to township officials to ensure they are receiving legitimate information.
– Stewart said the township received the SAFER grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which will provide $1.6 million over 3 years to fund the salaries and benefits of nine new firefighters.
He said the township is in the process of hiring them, as it will host testing on January 16 and new firefighters will start in March and be assigned to crews in April.
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