By David P. Funk on March 1, 2019 – 9:23pm

The South Suburban Humane Society’s new adoption center in Homewood cleared a hurdle when the board approved a zoning ordinance at its February 26 meeting.

Homewood had no zoning ordinance for an animal shelter or adoption center by a non profit. The board unanimously approved a measure to allow for one in the zoning district where the new facility will be located and allow SSHS a special use permit to operate. SSHS is renovating the former Homewood Animal Hospital at 2207 183rd St. The building was constructed in 1947, so it predates zoning ordinances. The animal hospital closed in 2015.  It will be used strictly as an adoption center, the society’s CEO Emily Klehm said. Because the property was vacant for more than 180 days, a special use permit had to be approved. The original hope was to open the adoption center on March 1. But Klehm said renovation work just recently began after a delay because a new gas line had to be run to the building. 

The existing gas line was tied off because the property was vacant for so long, Klehm said. The recent extreme cold further complicated things. “(The gas line work) took about two months to accomplish. So now that we have heat, we have plumbers and electricians doing work and making progress,” Klehm said. “We’re optimistically saying mid April and I’m hopeful then that a grand opening celebration could be held in early May.” The new facility, purchased for the humane society by an anonymous donor, will house about 40 dogs and 20 cats and there will be an in-house spay and neuter surgical suite, Klehm said. SSHS is still accepting contributions to help fund the renovation. To donate, visit SSHS online.