Planning commission approves kennel request

By Rudy Hemmann
The Surveyor

The Berthoud Planning Commission held a regular meeting the evening of Nov. 10, 2016, and considered two agenda items.

The commissioners took action on one aspect of a request by Berthoud Animal Hospital, located at 505 Mountain Ave., which is the former Wayside Inn restaurant site. Community Development Director Curt Freese presented the issue to the commission.

According to an information sheet provided by town staff, the applicants are Jeff Keast of the architectural firm 3ld+, who acted as spokesman for Berthoud Animal Hospital principals Tricia Miller DVM and Ken Bixel DVM. The nature of their request was to gain approval for use of the facility as a kennel for the boarding of dogs and to obtain a two-foot fence height variance which would allow Miller and Bixel to install an eight-foot-tall fence along the south side of the property. The fence would enclose the area between the building and an alleyway which runs in an east-west direction behind the building. It is proposed the enclosure would be used as an outdoor play area for dogs boarded at the facility.

Freese stated staff did not take a position, for or against, the proposal, citing issues such as odors and noise from barking dogs as items the commission would have to discuss before making a decision.

During a public hearing two residents spoke to express concerns of noise and odors from an outdoor exercise area. The manager of the Titos Restaurant stated his business would be affected because of loss of visibility due to an eight-foot-tall fence.

The applicants assured those in attendance the fence material would be PVC plastic or a similar product that would not absorb dog urine and the outdoor play area would be washed down daily to help control odors. They also stated the operation of the facility would be governed by the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act.

The commission eventually resolved the compatibility issue of having a dog daycare facility at the site by passing a motion to allow the concept to exist at the site. The motion allowing the business passed by a 5 to 2 vote with commissioners Christine Cellentano and Tim Hardy voting “no.”

The site plan, which includes the fence height and location, was tabled until the next meeting of the commission (Dec. 8) at which time the applicants could offer an alternate site plan incorporating changes suggested by the commissioners – such as a two-foot setback from the eastern property line, increasing the setback of the fence along the southern boundary, moving a trash bin enclosure a few feet further west to aid the visibility issue regarding Titos Restaurant and to research the use of sound-absorbing materials on the fence. A motion to table the site plan until the next scheduled meeting passed unanimously.

The next item Freese brought before the commission was for a rezone of two tracts which lie adjacent to each other that are to be joined and developed as a single project, and approval of a concept plan for the rezoned properties. The proposed concept plan indicates a total of 79 dwelling units for the entire project.

The applicant, Craig Wrigley, agent for Sunriver Development Corporation, LLC, had brought the smaller (2.28 acre) tract before the commission within the past four months. The larger (10.119 acre) tract lies directly to the north, and adjacent to, the smaller tract. (The smaller tract is located adjacent to Larimer County Road (LCR) 17 in the northeast corner of the gateway subdivision.)

During a public hearing regarding the issue, six citizens took the podium, with three speaking in favor of the proposal and three speaking against.

The applicant requested the 2.28-acre tract be rezoned from Planned Unit Development (PUD) to R-2 (Limited Multi Family) and the 10.119-acre tract be rezoned from T (Transitional) to R-2.

The problem for the majority of the commission was that the 2.28-acre tract and the portion of the 10.119-acre tract adjacent to LCR 17 would also be of better use as a commercial property. Another drawback was the lack of access to LCR 17 from the 10.119 acres. All traffic from the larger tract would be routed through the smaller tract, according to the proposed concept plan.

Following much discussion, the commissioners rejected the concept plan brought forward but decided to approve changing the zoning on both tracts to the R-2 zoning requested by the applicant.

The motion to change zoning of the 2.28-acre tract passed by a 4 to 3 vote with commissioners Dick Shepard, Cellentano and Hardy voting “No.”

The motion to change zoning of the 10.119-acre tract passed unanimously.

A motion to table the concept plan also passed unanimously.

In a bit of housekeeping the commissioners reviewed the status of the officers on the planning commission. Scott Banzhaf retained his seat as chairman, Jennifer Baker was voted in as vice-chair, and Christine Cellentano retained the seat of commission secretary.