Business license request results in cat debate at Price council meeting
A request from a local resident to obtain a business license to raise cats for sale resulted in a lengthy discussion of concerns raised by a number of animal advocates attending the last Price City Council meeting on April 30.
"What we care about here has to do with the animals and their care," noted Debbie Pappas, a concerned citizen present at the city council meeting. "We are going to be watching what is going on."
The remark came after attendees at the council meeting continued for almost 20 minutes discussing the care of animals and voicing concerns about the circumstances cats might face in a similar establishment.
Following the presentations, the council discussed city government's options to resolve the concerns raised by the animal advocates and decided to take the business license request under advisement.
"I don't think we are ready to make a decision on this yet," said Councilman Steve Denison. "I think we need to know more about the circumstances."
The crux of the matter appeared to center around allegations that the cats may lack adequate care and space to be properly raised in the proposed establishment.
One of the complaints raised at the public meeting, in particular, involved the purported practice of keeping the cats in small cages.
However, the business license applicant disputed the allegation, indicating that the male felines are only kept in the cages when kittens have been born because the adult cats would harm the babies.
The city council members discussed what city government could do regarding the situation, since the business owner has apparently already been selling pure bred cats.
Then a second circumstance worked its way into the discussion
"While this is a home occupied business, it is located in a commercial zone," pointed out Mayor Joe Piccolo. "I think, because of that, we could issue a conditional use permit for the business, then we could spell out completely what we want and it would also be easier to control as well."
Councilwoman Jeanne Mc-Evoy suggested that the city council issue a temporary 30-day conditional use permit to allow Price officials additional time to study the situation.
Dennison made a motion to deny the request for a business license as it stood.
But McEvoy amended Denison's motion to include authorizing a temporary permit before the matter was voted upon.
The amended motion passed 4-1, with Denison voting against the action.
Piccolo asked the city's staff to develop recommendations regarding the matter for permanent action by the council in the future.
However, Price City Attorney Nick Sampinos indicated that he needed guidance from the mayor and council on which direction to head.
The issue, according to several Price officials, is to what to allow and what not to permit as home occupied businesses at locations within the city limits.
During the April 30 meeting, the Price City Council members approved a license for a business to weld and assemble horse fence panels at a home location.
"I think we need to set up a committee to study this type of problem in our community," stated Dennison.
The council agreed.