Still, county officials expected a new shelter would be delayed until at least late 2014, in part because of struggles to find a large enough parcel with easy access.
County administrators and members of the advisory board recommended the PDK location after reviewing 83 other sites in the county and ranking them based on price, timeline and access for would-be volunteers and adopters.
Commissioner Jeff Rader, in sponsoring the PDK site, noted that the county’s airport owns the land in question. That lowers the cost of the $8 million project and clears the way for work to get started on construction by year end.
Commissioners representing the south end of the county put the brakes on the plan, however. They complain that the shelter would be an hour away from some parts of DeKalb, limiting the ability of residents there to get involved.
“I would suggest that accessibility to a larger share of the county is needed,” said Commissioner Lee May, whose district includes Lithonia and other points southeast. “I just want to take a look at that.”
That lag incensed advocates. Residents have pushed for years to get county leaders to change how they handle stray pets.
Last month, they were thrilled when DeKalb approved outsourcing its shelter operations to a local non-profit, LifeLine Animal Project. Both sides have yet to sign a final contract
But it was the push back on the shelter location that drew the ire of more than 60 residents who made a show of force during Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
Commissioners delayed a vote on the issue at the meeting, asking for time to study an overview of the site selection that Ellis’ Chief of Staff, Hakim Hilliard, submitted late Monday.
Ellis, who addressed advocates outside the the commission meeting, said he expected approval of the PDK site in May, when commissioners next take up the matter.
“I think everyone is committed to this,” Ellis said. “I can tell you, my administration and I are ready to go.”