Planning commission approves dog kennels

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The Berthoud Planning Commission held a regular meeting the evening of Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, and considered an agenda item which had been tabled during the Nov. 10, 2016, meeting of the commission

The applicant, Jeff Keast of 3Ld+ Architecture, acting as the agent for Tricia Miller and Ken Bixel, proprietors of Berthoud Animal Hospital, in their request to allow kenneling of small animals (dogs and cats) at the facility they recently acquired at 505 Mountain Ave. (This is the building which had housed the Wayside Inn restaurant and has been vacant for a number of years.)

At the previous meeting several of the commissioners had voiced concerns regarding a pet exercise area which Miller and Bixel propose for the portion of their property that lies between the veterinary building and an alleyway behind the property.

The commissioners objected to the possible sounds of barking dogs along with smells of dog urine and feces emanating from the exercise area, which may affect patrons of two local eateries located just across the alley from the proposed exercise area, the height of a solid PVC fence – proposed at eight-feet tall, insufficient setbacks along the eastern and southern sides of the exercise area enclosure. and the location of a trash dumpster which, if moved to the west, would increase the visibility of the Tito’s Mexican Grill from the street.

The applicant returned with the following modifications to the original site plan:

  • Change the enclosure fence material from PVC to wood and covering only the lower three feet with PVC plastic, which would leave the upper five feet of the wood fence to act as a natural sound barrier.
  • Covering the lower three feet of the cedar fence with PVC would not allow the wooden fence to become soaked with urine, which would aid in the mitigation of any urine odors escaping from the exercise area.
  • In the revised site plan the trash dumpster is moved 15 feet to the west in order to give greater visibility from Fifth Street into the alley.
  • Setbacks were added to the eastern side of the enclosure and increased on the southern side.
  • Dogs would only be allowed to use the exercise area during normal business hours, which for the kennel portion of the business will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days per week, which means the exercise area could be in use during those hours.

Following questioning of the applicants and of town staff and discussion by the commissioners a motion approving the site plan for an outdoor pet exercise area as amended by the applicants was made, seconded and the motion passed five to one, with Commissioner Tim Hardy casting the “no” vote. This was quickly followed by a second motion to approve a variance to allow an eight-foot wood fence to enclose the exercise area. This motion passed with four commissioners voting “yes,” one voting “no” and one abstaining. Hardy again voting against the motion and Commissioner Christine Celentano abstaining.