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Jim Burke is moving from Vermont to North Carolina, but before he leaves, he is asking local town leaders for a zoning change so that his property can become a bear sanctuary.

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According to theĀ Brattleboro Reformer, Burke met with the Wilmington Development Review Board earlier this week to ask if he could turn most of his 62-acre property into a safe haven for bears and other animals.

Ken Spicer, executive director of the Chimney Hill Association, also voiced support, saying, “we have a bear issue and it’s not a bear issue … it’s a people issue” in regards to numerous bear sightings in the area.


Burke says “the property will not be fenced in and animals will not be fed or encouraged to come around.”

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In order for the dream to become reality, Burke must first transfer development rights to an organization to meet certain zoning ordinances. He was advised to consult with his attorney if the proposal moves forward.

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