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Detailed site plan submitted for Fair Bluff big cat sanctuary

By Allen Turner

allenturner@nrcolumbus.com

Shazir Haque, developer of the proposed Shizzy’s Wildcat Rescue on the site of the former Ford automobile dealership in Fair Bluff, has submitted a detailed site plan for review by the Fair Bluff planning board.

No date has been set, but Mayor Billy Hammond says in a newspaper column this week that the planning board will meet “in a few weeks” and determine whether Haque’s proposal is in compliance with local zoning laws.

Depending on the date of final approval by the town, Haque hopes to begin construction in August. He has said he anticipates the sanctuary will employ at least 10 full time employees and utilize the services of dozens of volunteers when open.

Phase 1 of the site plan for development of 46,000 sq. ft of the property shows a 270-ft. by 170-ft. enclosure with two separate habitats for cats, one for lions and tigers only and the other for smaller cats, such as servals, caracals, ocelots, bobcats and lynxes.

The lion and tiger habitat, 45 feet wide and 45 feet long, will be enclosed by a 15-foot fence. The smaller cat habitat will be 30 feet by 30 feet with a 10-foot fence. It will contain a catch pen area with denbox, a concrete slab for water and food and a platform four feet off the ground on which cats will be able to lie during the day. Trees will remain inside the habitat.

The smaller cat habitat will contain two den boxes, two concrete slabs for water dishes and food, a platform on which cats can climb, as well as brush in which cats will be able to hide and trees on which they will be able to climb. A catch pen area with a guillotine door is included.

Two different areas on the site are being considered for use as a food preparation area that will contain a commercial freezer and a commercial walk-in cooler. One of those areas under is a building at the rear of what used to be the shop of the Ford dealership, and the other area is a former medical clinic on the grounds.

Phase 2 of the project will include building a second habitat for tigers and lions, 100 feet long and 50 feet wide and surrounded by a 16-foot fence, and the addition of several 30-foot by 30-foot smaller cat habitats surrounded by 10-foot fencing. Addition of a 30-foot by 15-foot bird aviary topped by a 15-foot domed roof is also expected during Phase 2 of the project.

The site plan also shows a quarantine area in what used to be the body shop of the Ford dealership where newly arriving animals will be placed under observation before joining other animals in the rescue population.

A parking lot and loading/unloading area for animals will be located between the former car dealership and the old medical clinic.

In addition to fencing for various habitats within the property, the perimeter of the entire property will be fenced.

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