The Lewisburg City Council heard legal remarks from two attorneys during the Tuesday night council meeting before considering whether to revoke a city business license that allows dog breeding within the RO district of the Lamplighter neighborhood.
The normal path for such a license is to confer with city zoning officer Chuck Smith, who would determine if the city code allows for that particular license in that particular zone. The license was issued in April, revoked, and then reissued in June, Mayor John Manchester admitted, stating the city had made a mistake in issuing the permit in the first place by not checking in with Smith.
City attorney Tom White said city code 1347 states flatly that a kennel is not permitted in an RO district. The code also does not distinguish between a kennel and dog breeding. Compliance must be made within the district, he said.
Grady Fort, attorney for the Roberts family, who own four dogs, two of which are of breeding age, said the state and county codes both clarify what constitutes a “kennel,” and both quantify many more (up to 30) dogs as a kennel. He said it is not clear that a business license is needed for the Roberts to sell a few dogs once or twice a year. Fort also requested more time to prepare a response to the council’s consideration to revoke the license.
Another aspect of the issue is that the Lamplighter Homeowners Association has a covenance against breeding animals within the neighborhood. Jeanie Crandall, president of the association, said several residents have complained about the menacing behavior of the dogs, which are labradors. The council voted to delay action for one month to enable a discussion with the homeowners association.
In other business:
- Two new residents to Lewisburg, and mothers of small children, presented comments, to the effect that, the city does not offer much in the way of an indoor recreational activities center for young children and their parents. They were dismayed to find that the former Lewisburg Elementary School, currently under renovation as rental space for students and others, was too costly to rent. Council offered suggestions for them to follow up on, including churches, Bimbo Coles’ CrossFit and United Way’s nonprofit outreach.
- Consulting engineer Criss Haynes, who specializes in storm water and karst hydrology, is in the employ of Lewisburg Manor. He requested to be on the agenda for the next planning commission meeting in order to meet with the developers of Fairview Holding to discuss what the storm water abatement plans they had for the “Rock Pile,” which is situated next to the Lewisburg Manor property. “There are no surface streams in Lewisburg,” Haynes said. The Fairview Holdings property, due for commercial development, is “a bathtub without a drain.” The mayor agreed to put the item on the planning commission meeting agenda, set for the first Thursday in September.
- Police Chief Tim Stover introduced the department’s newest member, Rocky, a two and a half-year-old, black and tan belgian malinois, and his trainer Deputy Todd Williams. Rocky, though respectful and subdued, appeared very interested in all the attention he received. He is five weeks into his narcotics detection training.
Stover also announced that the 10th annual D.A.R.E. To Cruz Car Show will be held in downtown Lewisburg on Saturday, Sept. 9.
- The city council recommended five names to serve on the Dick Pointer Cemetery board for the circuit court judge to confirm as trustees. Tony Ogden, Janice Cooley, Shannon Beatty, Vickie Roane and Joy Jones were the names offered.
- Realtor Paul Grist was appointed to the Building Commission to fill Jason Reams’ unexpired three-year term. He was recommended by the mayor and approved by council.
- Fire Chief Joey Thomas introduced his new chief’s aide, Marissa Dunbar. Dunbar is also the assistant chief at the volunteer fire department in Union, and will continue to hold both positions. She has met all the training and physical agility requirements of the department, Thomas said, and was roundly welcomed by council.
• The mayor gave an update on the progress of the construction project at the rear of the city hall building where a sinkhole was discovered threatening the integrity of the building. He said the first phase has been successfully completed with the installation of support piers and concrete, filling the 20 foot wide hole. Phase two and three will involve repairs to the building and repaving the alleyway. Manchester said other city works projects include extending the sidewalks on 219 North from Silo Lane toward WalMart and also on 219 South from Foster Street to Lafayette Street.