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Snake Breeder Asking City to Reconsider his Application



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man who had taken his plans for a snake breeding business elsewhere in Utah County has returned to Mapleton City asking the town to reconsider his application for a snake farm.

Residents aren't happy about California transplant Dan Sutherland's renewed push to move his online ball python-breeding business to the bedroom community.

"We were shocked when we saw it on the agenda again," said Ruth Fuller, whose property comes within a few fence lines of Sutherland's land. "I'd like to see him just take it back to California."

Sutherland's request before city planning commissioners caused an uproar last fall from snake-fearing neighbors. Sutherland and his wife, Colette, had moved from California to Mapleton and wanted also to move their snake breeding business. The couple applied for a conditional use permit that would allow a barn for about 1,500 ball python snakes and their offspring, along with mice and rats to feed the slithery creatures.

Neighbors vocal concerns about plummeting property values, increased smells and fears about snakes prompted the Sutherlands to abandoned the push. The couple took their plan to neighboring Spanish Fork, where they were granted a conditional-use permit.

Mapleton Mayor Jim Brady said Sutherland then withdrew his application for a snake farm in Mapleton and planned to recover financially by selling his land there.

"When the sale fell through," Brady said, "his attorney approached the city and asked if they could withdraw the cancellation of their application. We're trying to pick up right where we left off."

Planning Commissioner Barbara Pratt said all parties are scheduled to meet with the state ombudsman on April 26. The snake farm will likely return to the commission's agenda May 10, she said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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