Town Officials Release Statement on Wild Animal Park Lawsuit
Town of Sullivan officials are speaking out after suing The Wild Animal Park for it's drive thru safari.
Park owner Jeff Taylor was served with a cease and desist order for violating various town codes and ordinances.
"Small businesses like The Wild are what make our community great," says Sullivan Town Supervisor John M. Becker. "Shutting down for months due to COVID-19 has hurt many of our businesses and we want them back open sooner rather than later, however that does not give any business owner the right to forego the safety of the community and not abide by the laws in place. Over the years the Town has approved every request that was properly applied for by Mr. Taylor."
In a statement, officials say there have been a number of instances, including the present situation, where Mr. Taylor has moved forward with construction and business operations without first seeking appropriate approvals from the various local boards and agencies and officials.
Despite fully knowing he was required to obtain the proper permits and zoning designations and approvals, Mr. Taylor elected to proceed to open a new and unapproved drive-thru safari business on land not approved or zoned for that use. He also failed to obtain the necessary Planning Board approvals required for such a business.
Officials claim the Town has received a number of complaints about the Wild operating without any approvals or permits and say neighbors have threatened to sue the Town over the safari.
Taylor claims he explained the emergency to save the business to town officials, who were 'not fully supportive' but didn't say no. "What the town is claiming and what actually happened throughout this process are two completely different things."
Sullivan officials says they hope to "work on a resolution where Taylor can keep his current business and keep the integrity of the neighborhood."
A Change.org petition to "show the Town of Sullivan that by discouraging this wonderful place they are doing more harm to the community than Jeff is," already has more than 35,000 signatures in less than 12 hours.
A peaceful protest is planned for Wednesday, June 10th at the Town of Sullivan clerk's office on Lakeport Road in Chittenango, at 12pm.