Before Kristy Henning and the Emmet County Shelter could proceed to moving to the proposed site of the former Sixth Street Emporium and Jane's Place, the group needed the property rezoned from general business to highway commercial.
At its regular meeting Monday, the council voted against the rezoning on a 3-2 vote with two members abstaining.
Voting against the rezoning were council members Gene Haukoos, Ann Goebel and Mike Nieland.
"I felt with all the people calling me, it'd be better if the animal shelter would be located out of town," said Nieland.
Council members Dave Seylar and Larry Anderson voted in favor of the rezoning
"I thought it (the shelter) would be a benefit to the community and it'd be nice to get that building looking better," Seylar said.
As far as residents near the proposed shelter, he didn't think the barking concern brought by opponents of the rezoning was valid.
"I live in a residential neighborhood and there are about 17 dogs in a one-block area," he said.
Council members Terry Nelson and Roger Guge abstained. Nelson said he had a conflict of interest on the issue.
In a public hearing prior to the vote, Mary Ann Strom and Darlene Brunskill spoke in opposition of the rezoning.
Brunskill said the shelter shouldn't be in a downtown area and if it's rezoned, what would prevent it from moving in.
Strom said she lives across the street from the site and was concerned both about dogs barking and possible odor.
She made reference to an animal shelter in Havelock that was forced to move because neighbors complained of the smell.
Henning currently runs the animal shelter from her residence near Joe Hoye Park. Many of the animals are fostered to other homes.
Current neighbors spoke favorably of Henning's operation.
Stacy Schmaus, who share a driveway with Henning, said she lives within 50 feet of the shelter and has never had any problems. Another neighbor, John Wittneben, said he leaves four or five houses from Henning and had no concerns with Henning's animals, but occasionally with other neighbor's dogs.
Goebel asked Henning if she'd searched other sites for an animal shelter that were already zoned properly.
Henning said she had looked at places outside town, but none that were available for purchase.
The first time she considered the Emporium area, at the suggestion of a businessman, the cost seemed prohibitive.
But when she looked at the property again six to eight months later, it appeared perfect for the animal shelter's needs in that it was on the edge of town, but still received city services.
Henning had planned to have no more than eight dog kennels with six dog runs. The animals would have been shut in at night.