To the Editor:
Dick Broom’s story in the Oct. 1 Mount Desert Islander “Animal rescue permit denied, Rivers looks to move” accurately reports the recent meeting of the Mount Desert Planning Board meeting.
More recently, walking by the Rivers’ family home on Kimball Road in Northeast Harbor, I noticed a “For Sale” sign posted in their dooryard.
At the Planning Board hearing, member Christie Anastasia had suggested that the board approve a permit with conditions monitoring Ann Rivers’ animal rescue program. Board chairman William Hanley asked, in response, how the town would enforce such a conditional permit. The proposal was dropped. However, Ms. Anastasia’s proposal sounded to me like a reasonable compromise. Such a permit would have limited the size and scope of the animal rescue service, allowing Ms. Rivers to continue working from her home.
At the end of the meeting, Ms. Rivers’ neighbors praised her animal rescue service but said it should be located somewhere else, not in their neighborhood. They pledged their support to help her organize a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity. Finally, Ms. Rivers very graciously thanked the board for giving her the opportunity to tell her story about caring for rescued animals.
For me, the Planning Board’s decision to deny Ann River’s a permit to operate a small, home-based animal rescue service raised the question, “What kind of community do we want to be?” One answer was Christie Anastasia’s suggestion that neighbors work out a compromise. Another answer is the ‘For Sale’ sign now posted at the Rivers’ family home.