June 15, 2008

Veterinarian’s Dream Nears

By Lena Warmack, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.

Jun. 15--Veterinarian Jane Barber said she has spent nearly a decade trying to open an animal hospital in Sherrills Ford.

She had looked at several places -- including commercially zoned areas -- but those locations didn't work for her practice.

"At the time, the only commercial property was along the N.C. 150 corridor," she said. "I just had this dread fear that my clients, if they lost control of their animals, would have them get out on the highway and be killed. I didn't want to be on a really busy road."

Until recently, Catawba County's zoning ordinance only allowed vet clinics or animal hospitals in commercially zoned areas, said planner Mary George.

In February, the county created a special-use permit that would allow a vet clinic or hospital in residential communities.

Now, Barber's dream may come true -- to provide services within the community.

The Catawba County Board of Adjustments will consider granting Barber a special-use permit on June 21. If approved, the hospital could open within a year.

Barber said she wants to open an animal hospital on 15 acres off Molly's Backbone Road in Sherrills Ford.

The 3,960-square-foot facility would feature 18 rooms that includes space for operations, examinations, radiology and dental care.

An enclosed exercise area also is planned outside the hospital for dogs.

Barber, 52, who lives in Terrell, also is building a home at the site so she can be on call for her clients.

"It just allows me to be more available to my clients when they need me," Barber said.

She currently leases space in an existing veterinarian clinic in Mooresville.

Barber, who wouldn't disclose the cost of the hospital, said she plans to relocate her existing practice and five employees to the new facility, once it opens.

"This is where we wanted (the hospital) to be," Barber said, "and we wanted to meet the needs of our community."

Lena Warmack: 704-987-3670, ext. 14.


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