Fresno County passes zone change for new animal adoption center

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The proposal to build a pet adoption center on property at Grantland and Parkway in Northwest Fresno has been fraught with controversy.

Neighbors worried about traffic issues and feared animals would be dumped nearby and threaten their children.

But Derrel Ridenour, well known as the owner of a major mini storage business told the board of supervisors he would make it all right.

"I'm putting my reputation on the line with this facility and I know that when its all finished there won't be any problems," said Ridenour.

Ridenour is putting up more than 4 acres of land and willing to invest $3 million to build a new state of the art animal shelter. It would be run by the Fresno Humane Association, which contracts with the county for animal control services and has been operating out of a temporary shelter for six years.

But many residents, including Cathy Caples, opposed Ridenour's generous plan.

"Sometimes its really difficult to turn down a donor who has such great intent, and wants to do the right thing for the community, and I think this is the right project, I just don't think this is the right location," said Caples.

The project is in Supervisor Brian Pacheco's District. He put off a decision a month ago, to study the idea and get more input from the community. At Tuesday's meeting, he concluded; "The biggest issue is, I don't want it in my backyard. So there is no perfect site."

In the end, after Ridenour agreed to build an additional wall, and make other changes, the board unanimously approved rezoning the land to allow the animal adoption shelter.

Ridenour says his goal is to make an attractive place, where animals will find new homes and not be killed.

"That's what we are trying to do here we are trying to build a facility where its good for the community its good for the animals and it will be a place where people actually want to go," said Ridenour.

The opposing neighbors are threatening to sue, charging the county failed to do a proper environmental evaluation.

Ridenour says construction could start by next spring and will take about ten months to complete.
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