The Canaveral Groves-based big-cat rescue group wants to move its felines to a 17-acre site off U.S. 1, just shy of the Volusia County line. But some neighbors have questioned whether the lions, tigers, leopards and cougars could escape and be a danger to children, pets or adults.
The Brevard County Commission has yet to decide on the
U.S. 1 zoological park proposal, tabling the matter three times since February. Commissioners will resume debate Thursday.
Two weeks ago, the county’s planning, zoning and enforcement manager, Cindy Fox, sent the reserve’s president Thomas Blue a list of draft conditions for a captive-wildlife zoning permit.
# Central Florida Animal Reserve can keep a maximum of 60 great cats.
# The sanctuary will be closed to the public, save up to 30 tour participants per day.
# Breeding must be managed in accordance with an accredited conservation plan.
# Security cameras will monitor the premises around the clock.
# Central Florida Animal Reserve will submit an emergency plan, including an inventory of all animals and contact list of neighboring landowners, to Brevard authorities each year.
“They’ve reviewed them with their board. I believe they’re still considering them,” Fox said Monday of the conditions. “I think that they probably believe that they’re pretty restrictive, but they know that this is where the county stands.
“I think that they’re willing to accept them if they are going to receive approval for their conditional-use permit,” Fox said.
Messages seeking comment were left Monday for Blue and Kevin “Simba” Wiltz, the group’s senior vice president.
Lorna Cress, who lives in Iowa City, Iowa, owns a nearby 21/2-acre property. She opposes the sanctuary.
“When even the slightest potential of unnecessary dangers is present outside those natural habitats and proper facilities, residents’ and property owners’ concerns should be high priorities before legal authorization is considered, let alone granted,” Cress e-mailed to county leaders.
According to a 1979 Brevard zoning ordinance, zoological parks — including the Central Florida Animal Reserve’s Scottsmoor sanctuary and “serpentariums, aviaries and large public aquariums” — cannot construct cages within 300 feet of a residential property line.
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