Grant Winner Update: Zoning Approval

It felt like we had been waiting an eternity for July to finally arrive. On July 10th, we would have our public zoning hearing and hopefully, obtain our final zoning approval. With our special exception granted, the schedule would begin to complete the last steps we needed to take in order to open.
The plan was to immediately start the renovations which were necessary to expand our cat lounge and also to launch advance ticket sales through an Indiegogo campaign.

However, when you are running your own business, you quickly learn that schedules don’t always go according to plan. We discovered that our zoning hearing had been rescheduled and we were forced to wait another 2 weeks before we could appear before the Board of Zoning Appeals. This, unfortunately, also delayed our timeline. While two weeks might not seem like a lot of time, we were not able to move forward with any construction on the cat lounge expansion until we had first obtained zoning approval. It would also be foolhardy to open cat lounge ticket sales if, on the off chance, we were not granted our special exception. So, two weeks we waited.

The day did eventually come, and, we’re happy to report, we got approved! We strode in armed with 3 people speaking in our favor, as well as our support letter which boasted over 1000 names – a clear sign that many people were eager for our cat café to be approved so that they could visit! The hearing went quickly, and the board only asked a few questions, all of which we were more than prepared to answer. When it was all over, we were officially given the OK to open the cat lounge. This was a huge success for us, as we had a massive hurdle to overcome, and there were many steps along the way – from adding “cat café” as an official use in the local zoning ordinances, to applying to take advantage of that special exception, and finally, to approval.

We now plan to open the cat lounge at the end of August, and there is still a lot to accomplish in order to make that happen, including coordinating the contractors who will renovate the new rooms, advertising and selling tickets to our excited audience, and finalizing out the layout of our space to suit the needs of our cats and human guests.  You can look forward to hearing about our grand opening next month!

About the author

Angela Pullo is the 19th Small Business Grant winner. She is the owner of Mew Haven Cat Cafe. Mew Haven Cat Cafe is a coffee shop with adoptable shelter cats. With an hourly entry fee, people can come and play with cats. Some people can`t have cats, and this provides a form of stress relief. Some people who want to adopt can get to know the cats` personalities before they adopt.


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