Agreement lets Calusa Animal Inn stay open until 2014

Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.

A third deadline in two years passed Tuesday for the Calusa Animal Inn kennel to close or comply with zoning regulations.

A resolution, however, is already in place. An agreement between Alachua County and property owners Linda Abeles and Peter Bensen will allow the kennel owned by Russ Milner to remain open until Feb. 28, 2014.

Milner’s lease expires Nov. 30, 2013, but Steve Scott, attorney for the property owners, said they wanted to build in a cushion since tenants don’t always leave right away.

The agreement allows the county, property owners and business owners to avoid costly and stressful lawsuits, Scott said, and allows his clients to avoid daily fines for noncompliance.

“It’s driving me crazy is all I can say trying to figure out whether you’re going to be in or you’re going to be out and who’s for you and who’s against you,” Milner, 93, said Tuesday.

“It would be nice to continue just to keep the people happy out in this area because there is nothing close by here and we’ve been here this many years and they’ve sort of grown used to us.”

The kennel at 6321 Millhopper Road in northwest Gainesville was open in 1977 when Alachua County adopted new land use regulations that required a special exception for kennels to operate in a residential area.

It flew under the radar for more than 30 years before a neighbor complained to code enforcement about barking dogs.

The county gave the kennel until November 2011 to close or apply for a special exception, followed by an April deadline imposed by the code board, later amended to Tuesday as Milner was removed from the complaint.

Milner said the neighbor still complains about noise once in awhile.

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