The Pomfret City Council appeared unhappy last month with the actions of the city’s zoning appeals board with a dog daycare.
The ZBA approved Julie McFarland’s business venture on Christy Road, but did so with conditions. She did not accept the conditions and wrote a letter to the municipal authorities to withdraw her candidacy.
The city council used part of its May meeting to shower city attorney Jeffrey Passafaro with questions about the situation.
“The ZBA has the power only to deal with the application presented to it”, he said. He’s not supposed to do city politics, he continued. However, he may informally decide to make changes to the requirements based on developments in past rulings, the longtime lawyer added.
According to city officials, the ZBA wanted McFarland to guarantee a staff-to-dog ratio, before granting him a special use permit for the business.
“The ZBA did not require staffing ratios for dog daycares,” said council member Ann Eckman. “This one he did.”
Passafar replied “Your ZBA wanted to establish a condition and it has the power to do so.”
ZBA President David Fridmann would not comment on the situation when contacted after the meeting.
Passafaro said McFarland had little recourse but to appeal the decision in state court if she wanted to open her business to Pomfret. This seems unlikely as his candidacy was withdrawn.
Passafaro added that the city council could sue the ZBA over the matter if it wanted to. No one on the city council wanted that.
Led by City Supervisor Dan Pacos, the council had an informal discussion about creating a law governing pet sitters. No action has been taken.
Passafaro said if the council passes legislation, McFarland could reapply under the new measure.