The Hope Planning Board will begin a site plan review for the Hope Elephants project at its next meeting.

The meeting is Tuesday, June 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hope Town Office.

Jim Laurita, a veterinarian at Camden Hospital for Animals, has submitted an application to build a 3,120-square-foot metal building with cedar shingle siding at his home at 43 Hatchet Mountain Road, across from Hatchet Mountain Publick House. Laurita intends to bring the 42-year-old Asian elephant, named Rosie, from Carson and Barnes Circus, located in Hugo, Okla., to Hope for high-end physical therapy. The elephant suffers from arthritis.

The project has been met with some opposition from people outside of Knox County. After several letters were submitted to the town, the planning board and Laurita agreed to continue the June 7 meeting until next month to give the veterinarian time to review the documents.

However, Town Administrator Jon Duke said by email June 16 that the meeting date was moved to the board’s next meeting to get clarification from the town attorney on a few issues and because they are sensitive to Laurita’s desire to move the process along.

Laurita previously stated he would like to get the facility constructed this summer and bring Rosie to Hope by late summer or early fall.

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