New Variance Allows Residents to Keep More Pets

08/06/14 | By | 40 More

MONTROSE — The City of Montrose remains firm on the number of cats and dogs each household can own, but a new variance to the city’s pet ordinance will allow leeway for special circumstances, such as military deployment or medical conditions.

City Councilors unanimously approved on Tuesday to amend an ordinance, stating that residents with special circumstances may apply for a temporary variance to allow them to exceed the city’s limit on pets. Current city code states households within the city cannot own more than two dogs or two cats.

The change will allow people to, for example, leave their pets with someone while deployed in the military; if a pet owner with two dogs develops a medical condition, that person can the apply for the variance, in order to obtain a service animal. Ordinance 2339 passed on first reading and gives the Montrose Police Department the authority to approve the variance for city residents.

“A copy of the variance shall be maintained on the premises available for inspection by animal control or police officers. A variance may be revoked by the Chief of Police for good cause shown,” Ordinance 2339 reads.

The special condition only applies to a specific location and pet owner. If a pet owner moves to a different location, he or she would have to reapply with the police department. The ordinance is not intended to allow residents to accumulate more animals, stating “good cause” will be the determining factor.

Otter Pond resident Roy Anderson told councilors the new change will prevent the abuse of pet ownership and make life better for pet owners and their neighbors.

“It’s very far [reaching] and does not single out any person in particular,” Anderson said.

Subdivisions like Otter Pond, which has a Homeowners Association, will still be able to enforce their rules in relation to city code.

City Attorney Stephen Alcorn said the variance “does not take away authority from HOAs to regulate themselves.” Alcorn said the policy was  similar to what other Colorado communities have initiated. “It does not alter the number of pets. It does allow a bypass variance, granted through the police department, to accommodate a unique situation,” Alcorn said.

Alcorn said if a pet owner has three dogs and one of those pets dies, that resident would not be allowed to replace the animal without a valid reason. Other residents Tuesday gave their support to council for the new variance. A second reading and vote of Ordinance 2339 is expected at the next city council meeting July 19.

City to Ink IGA for Sidewalks Project

The Montrose City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation Tuesday to pursue a South Townsend Avenue sidewalks project.

The council agreed to provide $26,000 in matching funds to cover an increase in construction costs. In 2012 the city originally agreed with CDOT to build sidewalks on the east side of Townsend Ave. between Walmart and Townsend. At that time the city agreed to provide $75,000 to match about $300,000 from CDOT.

Due to an increase in construction costs, the total amount grew to around $508,000, from $375,000. CDOT has agreed to add about $101,000 to the project, with the city kicking in $26,000.

wwoody@watchnewspapers.com Twitter.com/williamwoodyCO

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