Hellyn Riggins, Director of Development Services for the Town of Berlin, is not sure what will come next in a resident's battle to keep her goat, a 5-year old goat, she has raised since it was three weeks old.
The Zoning Board of Appeals upheld a zoning order saying Sheri Sala, who lives on New Britain Road, must give up the goat.
The decision was posted on March 29 and Sala has 15 days to file an appeal from that posting.
The zoning restrictions say that a goat has to have three acres to stay at a property. Sala's New Britain Road property has approximately a quarter acre of land.
Riggins said she was stunned when Sala changed her plan of attack three weeks prior to the hearing.
Sala originally applied for a variance to the Zoning Board of Appeals. She changed from a variance to an appeal. The appeal challenges Riggins’ ability to interpret the zoning regulations.
"I like Sheri and I talked to her a few times," Riggins said. "It is a confusing process so I tried to help her figure out her best course of action. She stood right here in my office and I explained all of the things she could do to try to win her case. I told her that if she filed a variance she would have a chance to attempt to sway the Zoning Board of Appeals that she had some kind of hardship and that there was no way she could let go of the goat."
But, then Sala went with the appeal.
"I told her that night that she was fighting the wrong fight and here's why I said that," Riggins said. "I told her if she was going to say that I had interpreted the Zoning Regulations incorrectly, I was going to have to defend myself. I'm not wrong. I looked at the zoning regulations and they say three acres...goat, three acres...goat. I mean it is cut and dry.
"People got up and said the goat wasn't a big nuisance but that's not the issue when she filed an appeal saying the zoning regulations don't apply here. The arguments didn't fit their appeal."
Sala will now have 15 days to appeal the ruling.
"Once the 15 days passes, she will need to start making plans to move the goat," Riggins added. "We are supposed to fine her daily if she does not comply but we will help her in any way we can."