Torn between citizen complaints
causing “negative vibes” and the prospect
of having an old dilapidated building
upgraded by a new business, the Pinedale
Town Council voted to allow a veterinarian
to have a conditional use permit for an animal
clinic at 618 W. Pine St. between Lincoln and
The request was granted despite repeated
protests from an established veterinarian located
less than a block away during the Pinedale
Town Council’s July 8 meeting. Mayor
Matt Murdock and council members Judi
Boyce, John Paravicini, Tyler Swafford and
Dean Loftus were in attendance.
Dr. Rex Rammel requested a conditional
use permit allowing his animal clinic at the
formerly vacant building. He agreed to the
planning and zoning commission’s conditions
to maintain dog kennels only inside the facility
to reduce noise and to limit loading and unloading
in the alley to 10 minutes to reduce
Dr. Brent Dean, who has the Animal Care
Clinic across the alley on South Madison,
wrote a letter of protest saying the alley was already
congested and adding another vet would
Murdock said both businesses could be respectful
and limit congestion in the alley.
Rammel said in the past two weeks he has
already started demolition so another building
for large animals could be installed. He took
a verbal stab at Dean, saying the established
vet was exaggerating the amount of trailer traffic
because he has never seen more than two
trailers at any time in the past two weeks. “He
doesn’t specialize in horses,” Rammel said.
Murdock immediately toned down the rhetoric,
saying, “Letting the conversation denigrate
into insults would not be useful.”
He added time limits on loading and unloading,
as well as complaints about noisy animals,
could be monitored and violators cited by the
town’s enforcement staff.
Loftus, who uses the Mason law firm building
near the alley, said he has seen on several
occasions as many as five trailers jockeying for
A visibly upset Swafford also took offense
at Rammel’s attacks. He said Rammel was presumptuous
when he posted signs prior to having
a permit and again by starting demolition
before receiving the conditional use permit.
Rammel defended his actions, saying he has
not invested a lot in the work done to date and
he placed the property under contract based on
the outcome of the permit application.
Forest Wakefield, owner of rental units on
South Lincoln, protested the use, saying the
noise of large animals would impact his rentals.
He added there are concerns with the sewer
Josh Wilson, town water and wastewater supervisor,
said he evaluated the sewer and found
additional lines had been run in recent years.
Hayley Ruland, director of engineering and
zoning, said that in the application process,
concerns emerged about utility easements.
Wakefield said he felt Rammel was getting
preferential treatment by not being required
to have parking where Dean was required to
make additional parking.
Murdock said that was a requirement when
Dean moved to his location and later changed
by ordinance and Rammel no longer needed
Boyce said she was concerned about safety
at festivals at the American Legion Park across
the street. The area is already congested and
restricted views could create a hazard for pedestrians.
Boyce said she was torn because she
didn’t want to oppose new businesses but the
public seemed very contentious.
She addressed Rammel, saying he had repeatedly
put the cart before the horse in installing
signs without a permit. Once notified he
needed a permit, instead of complying he put
an even larger sign in the back of a truck and
parked on Pine Street, obstructing views and
creating a safety hazard.
Swafford agreed, saying, “Your little shot
at Dr. Dean was tasteless.”
Rammel defended his remarks, explaining
his history of having repeatedly offered Dean
to buy his business but they were unable to
settle on a price. “You’ve been wanting to sell
the business for years,” Rammel said to Dean.
He added that Dean doesn’t want competition.
“To make the issue about congestion
is unfair to me,” Rammel said. “Parking is a
big issue and I can be respectful. I doubt we’re
going to be close friends.”
Dean clarified he has wanted to find a partner
so he could work less hours. He accused
Rammel of “threatening to put me out of business”
when the sale did not go through.
Wakefield argued the change in uses could
impact the sale of his property, throwing out
the names of other investors in the vicinity unable
to sell properties.
“You’re giving him extra and taking it out
on me,” Wakefield said. “Why is he so special
he deserves that?”
Boyce said she had attended the planning
and zoning meetings and that board approved
the conditional use permit, 4-1, with Lora Hittle
being the dissenting vote. Boyce said she is
excited about the planned upgrades to the facade
and proposed improvements to the longempty
building, but worries Rammel might
not be a good neighbor.
Rammel said he already agreed to inside
kennels, unlike Dean who has barking dogs
located in outside kennels creating constant
As for Wakefield’s rentals, he said fixing
up the former meat locker should improve everyone’s
Dean said he has had other vets move into
the community and maintained positive relationships
as colleagues sharing records and
referrals. “It’s hard to swallow when someone
threatens to put you out of business,” Dean
“My job as mayor can not be about personalities.
We are not the litmus test of his personality,”
He added, once granted the conditional use
permit transfers with the property and can be
sold for the next user and town ordinances on
parking limits, noise and animals in the community
will be enforced.
He threw it out to the council, “We can
approve, disprove, add conditions or take no
action, which is the same as denying.”
Following a long stare with no one taking
actions, Rammel said Pinedale represents the
weaknesses in the American system. He said
he has spent weeks negotiating and getting the
property under contract. He said he lived in
Jackson an entire year and moved out because
the business climate was so uncomfortable
and the town made him beg for things that he
should have been free to do as an American
“It’s an eyesore nobody else wants. I’ve
met all the conditions. There’s not one illegal
thing I’m proposing,” Rammel argued.
Loftus said, based on Rammel meeting all
the criteria, he made a motion to accept the
conditional use permit.
Boyce seconded the motion, agreeing he
had met the criteria. She suggested an additional
condition that a separate gate system be
added so a bull or large animal couldn’t escape
during the unloading process, possibly entering
the adjacent park and causing injuries.
The conditional use permit passed with
three ayes from Loftus, Murdock and Boyce,
one nay from Swafford and Paravicini abstaining.
Following the meeting, Paravicini said he
has been longtime friends with Dean and did
not want that to be a reason for appeal or litigation
if he voted.