A factory that breeds more than half a million rats and mice a year for zoos and research facilities can stay in business -- and has less than a month to reduce odor emissions.
Fort Worth City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to allow rodent breeding as an accepted use where the company is located without rezoning the area.
The Big Cheese Rodent Factory had requested a zoning change to heavy industrial because its activities were not allowed in the current zone, light industrial, which allows warehouses.
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But Councilman Joel Burns, whose district includes the company, said he talked to Big Cheese officials and nearby residents and businesses and came up with a compromise.
Now the business has until Nov. 1 to install its odor mitigation plan, which includes an air treatment system and an enclosed trash bin for waste, said Brian Boerner, the city's director of environmental management.
Dozens of those living and working near the tan, nondescript building without a sign have complained to city officials for months about the smell of ammonia or spoiled meat.
If the council had rejected any type of zoning adjustment, Big Cheese would have had 30 days to shut down, move to an area already zoned for such use or relocate outside the city limits, Fort Worth officials have said.
Big Cheese co-owner Lynda Hanna declined to comment.