PUTNEY -- The Putney Development Review Board has approved a conditional use permit for the owners of Santa's Land to reopen the Igloo Restaurant.

Santa's Land owner Lillian Billewicz and employee Brian Deistler came before the DRB Wednesday night to seek the permit for the 50-seat Igloo Restaurant, which is on the grounds of Santa's Land.

The Putney DRB voted 4-0 to issue the permit to Billewicz.

The Igloo Restaurant has been closed for 16 years, and Billewicz said she hopes to have the restaurant open some time in the spring.

"We're getting there," Billewicz said when asked how she was doing getting the facility ready for customers. "We're getting through the nit picky, but necessary, code things."

Billewicz and Deistler were cited for animal cruelty earlier this month after the Windham County Sheriff's Department discovered 18 dead animals at the park.

Sherri deputies found 16 dead deer, as well a pot bellied pig and pheasant, when they searched the grounds on March 3.

Billewicz and Deistler are scheduled to appear in court on April 29 to answer to the charge.

Billewicz purchased the 42-acre theme park in 2013 and opened it to visitors in the summer.

The park closed in 2011 and the property was going to be sold at auction before the Billewicz family got involved and purchased the property.

At Tuesday night's DRB meeting Billewicz said she wants to open the Igloo Restaurant to serve breakfast and dinner, six days a week.

The DRB did not ask any questions about the pending court case.

Billewicz said she has been trying to open the restaurant since Labor Day 2013 but has had a hard time bringing the building up to fire, safety and health codes after having been closed for 16 years.

Billewicz said she hopes to have the restaurant open year round.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.