Planning Commission approves rezoning land where HES wants to bu - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Planning Commission approves rezoning land where HES wants to build

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The Humane Educational Society cleared a major hurdle in its plan to build a new shelter.

Monday afternoon, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Planning Commission approved rezoning a piece of property at 4155 Randolph Circle. That’s the place where the Humane Educational Society would eventually like to call home.

Cheers could be heard outside the meeting room.

Executive Director, Bob Citrullo says the organization has been trying for a couple of years to locate land for future needs.

"We have very little green space where we're located currently. This would give us so much more space to exercise the animals, to walk them and help with their mental health instead of being stuck in a kennel,” Citrullo told Channel 3.

He says the existing building on North Highland Park Avenue is old and falling apart.

"It's just gotten to the point where like a lot of buildings, it's just way past its prime and it's no longer conducive. People will tell us they don't want to come here to adopt. It's so old and it's dingy in areas,” said Citrullo.

He says when it rains, water pours into the building, equipment doesn’t work and there are cracks in the structure.

The Planning Commission’s approval of the land is just the first step but it’s one that could put the Humane Educational Society on the path of finding a new, permanent home.  

"They know we need a building.  They know we need to get out of where we are and they're supporting us and this is the beginning part,” said Citrullo.

If the Chattanooga City Council approves rezoning the land, the Hamilton Educational Society plans to buy it.  The property will cost nearly $400,000 but Citrullo says the organization will not ask the government or taxpayers to pay for it. Instead, the money will come from private donors.

In 2015, Channel 3 reported the Hamilton County Commission approved a 57% increase in funding for the Humane Educational Society. It was the first increase in seven years.

According to Citrullo, that money is used for basic operational expenses like officers’ salaries, responding to calls, housing animals and building repairs.

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