On their kittycorner.org Web site, the Young sisters maintain that their rescue operation needs to be conducted in a home-like, residential environment. "The natural habitat for a housecat is a house," they write. "To put it more plainly, we have to live with them so that we can give them the kind of nurturing they need and get to know them as individuals, and they need to live in a home to learn good house manners."
Their attorney, zoning specialist Dirk Oudemool, had planned a two-pronged defense of KittyCorner.
"I have two contentions," Oudemool said last month. "One, the law (the village) adopted was improperly adopted, so it's invalid, and two, even if it was valid, it does not apply to my clients. They have non-conforming use rights under the zoning laws. In other words, my clients are grandfathered in. You can't back-date the law."
Ward insists that the village is within its rights to limit the number of animals allowed to live in a residential neighborhood. "It's a big concern," Ward said. "I don't really believe people in Liverpool are interested in living next to a house with 60 cats. Even though KittyCorner is not-for-profit and does a wonderful job rescuing cats, it's still a business in a residential area."
But the Youngs point out that of the 16 properties on the block on which they live just six are homes; the other 10 house businesses or village property.
"We are between a funeral home and a museum," the Youngs wrote. "What we do is perfectly appropriate for the property and the neighborhood."