Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Wednesday, June 12, 2024

City Commission denies local resident to run a dog-walking business from home

The City Commission overturned an earlier ruling Thursday that allowed Bruce Baber to run his dog-walking business from his house.

The commission ruled 5-1 in favor of the appeal with Commissioner Thomas Hawkins voting against and Commissioner Randy Wells absent.

The commission decided that, since Baber didn’t have a permit to run his business from his house when he started in 1987, the earlier ruling was incorrect.

Baber said that he was disappointed but will continue to care for his neighbors’ dogs by taking them to Northeast Park for walks.

He said he was upset that the appellants never came to him with their complaints.

“They always had plenty of opportunity to work with me as a human being, not as a lawsuit,” he said.

The Board of Adjustments ruled on Nov. 2 that Baber could keep his neighbors’ dogs because his business started before an ordinance was put in place in 1995 that forbid housing animals that are not pets.

However, since Baber didn’t have a home-business permit then, his business was technically illegal. He applied for a permit in 2006.

During the meeting, the Board of Adjustments presented the case as the defendant and Michael Bowe, who owns a house near Baber’s, spoke as the appellant. Baber said he wasn’t prepared for the city to speak on his behalf.

“The city staff was supposed to stay out of this,” he said. “They advised us that they would not be involved and they turned around and were proactive against us.”

Bowe said he doesn’t disagree with neighbors’ assertions that Baber is a nice guy.

“We’re not here for personalities,” he said. “This is about principles, not personalities.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

He said the Board of Adjustment’s ruling set a bad precedent that could come back to haunt the commission.

Commissioner Warren Nielsen agreed.

“Our charge is really to be consistent,” he said.

The Bowes left the meeting before they could be reached for further comment.

The commission voted unanimously to refer to a committee to look into changing land development codes to allow dogs that aren’t pets on residential property.

Baber’s lawyer, Sondra Randon, said that they will pursue changing the codes, but that wasn’t the path they were looking to take.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board,” she said.

Baber said he knows most of his neighbors very well, but he barely knows the Bowes. Baber said he’s resolved complaints they’ve told him about, such as an ugly fence, but they haven’t tried to work with him.

“They only have an interest in destroying a human being who’s doing a lot of good in the community,” he said.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.