Town of Sullivan sues the Wild Animal Park in Chittenango

Local News

CHITTENANGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The owner of the Wild Animal Park in Chittenango said he was served papers on Tuesday describing a lawsuit filed against him by the Town of Sullivan.

In a Facebook post, Jeff Taylor said the lawsuit involves an effort to shut down the drive-thru safari.

That safari opened last month down the road from the Wild Animal Park.

At the time the safari drive-thru opened, the Town of Sullivan told NewsChannel 9 that the business did not have the proper permits to be operating.

On Tuesday night, the Town of Sullivan released the following statement:

The Town of Sullivan on June 1, 2020, served The Wild Animal Park at 7621 Lakeport Road in Chittenango, NY with a cease and desist order.  The lawsuit states that The Wild, owned by Jeff Taylor is in violation of various town codes and ordinances. The Town of Sullivan has been very supportive of Mr. Taylor and The Wild for years.  The zoo is an important part of the Town of Sullivan, families from across the state come to our community to enjoy The Wild. “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.” Unfortunately, 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. The Town must take such matters seriously as safety issues must be addressed as part of these approvals. Despite fully knowing that 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. The Town has received a number of complaints about this business operating without any approvals or permits since it opened on May 18, 2020.  Also, neighbors have threatened to sue the Town over the safari. Mr. Taylor was made aware weeks prior to his opening that a safari type business would need prior zoning and land use approvals.  To date, Mr. Taylor has failed to file any applications despite having worked on the site for weeks. The Town of Sullivan looks forward to working with Mr. Taylor on a resolution where Mr. Taylor can keep his current business The Wild and keep the integrity of the neighborhood. 

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