SPRING GREEN (WKOW) — Activists in Spring Green are hopeful this week after the Town Board called for a special meeting about a proposed facility to breed dogs for medical research, but town officials say those activists may have been misled.
“There’s absolutely no way the Town can stop or block this by themselves,” said board chair Kevin Lins, the only member of the three-person Town Board to vote against the July 11 special meeting.
Lins says Clinton and Jill Kane, the facility’s owners, approached the Town in April about getting approval for one of their two buildings. That approval was granted in the form of a conditional use permit which the board approved June 6.
At a Town Board meeting July 2, in front of a crowd of protesters, the Board voted 2-1 for a special meeting July 11 to revisit that approval.
Lins says the facility fits the criteria to be a kennel, which means there’s nothing the Town can do to stop it.
“(The ordinance) tells you what the requirements are, and it says that if they meet the requirements of the zoning criteria… it specifically states that you must approve it,” Lins said.
Dane4Dogs, which has organized protests at meetings, considered the special meeting a win, calling it “great news for the residents of Spring Green.”
But Lins says what happens at that special meeting really doesn’t matter because in the end it’s up to Sauk County.
“Even if the majority would rescind the recommendation for the conditional use permit, at the county level, they’re going to be advised by staff and the legal corporation counsel about what they’re required to do according to the law,” he said.
In Lins’ eyes, the protests aren’t for nothing, however. He says they’re just focused in the wrong place.
“It isn’t the purpose of the Town Board to try to justify medical research on animals in a conditional use permit for a kennel,” he said. “This is at the federal level.”
After the special meeting on July 11, Sauk County will make its decision about the conditional use permit on July 23.
Before that, the Village of Spring Green Planning Commission will make a decision about the second building on July 17.
27 News reached out to the Kanes, as well as the other two Town Board members. The Kanes and Town Supervisor Carla Carmody did not return requests for comment, and Town Supervisor Dave Radel said that he had no comment to offer.