Puppy Shop Draws Neighbors' Ire
SAN ANGELO, TEXAS — An animal kennel and boarding business, Bark Boutique, was the topic of discussion during yesterday's city council meeting. The owner of the boutique came before the council to ask them to repeal the planning commissioners' denial of a Conditional Use request to move into a vacant white building, located at 3930 Sunset drive where the Magic Spot used to be before officials with Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), and local law enforcement agencies shut it down.
The dog boutique currently has a storefront in the 1900 block of Sherwood Way. The owner Liz Kidd wants to expand her family owned and operated business by moving it to Sunset Drive. In her June 19th statement to the planning commission, Kidd said additional boarding and dog daycare was needed in the area. She added that the dogs would only be outside twice daily, a maximum of two hours at a time, and that the site would be cleaned regularly. During the planning commission's meeting, several nearby residents spoke up against Kidd’s request raising noise, trash, and traffic concerns.
In the end, the planning commissioners denied, in a 4-2 vote, the Conditional Use request that would allow Kidd to open her business on the property.
Yesterday, during the city council meeting, Kidd was back to seek the city council’s approval in repealing the commissioners' vote. Jon James, Planning and Development Services Director, made a short presentation to the council members during the evening meeting, detailing Kidd’s new location. City staff recommended to the council to reject the planning commission's decision of denial for the Conditional Use request and instead, approve the Conditional Use request on four conditions - no dogs shall be allowed outside during the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m., Kidd shall install a minimum 6-foot privacy fence where the dog run will be located, Kidd shall maintain proper disposal of animal feces on a daily basis, and lighting shall be shielded in such a manner to prevent spillover light and glare on the surrounding properties.
Above: The picture shows where the new dog boutique will be placed. The right side, where cement is placed, will be reconstructed into an outside play area for dogs. That area is right beside residents living on Driftwood.
Residents and next door businesses were not too excited about Kidd opening her business in the Sunset location.
The property in question is in the newly elected SMD 6 city council member Billie DeWitt's district. In a means to learn more about dog daycare facilities, DeWitt said she had gone and visited another local dog daycare in her district to see first hand if such a business has strong odors or is noisy to the public. However, DeWitt was positive that the daycare she visited did not bring any of those complaints to light.
Despite DeWitt’s approval of the dog daycare, many SMD6 residents felt that opening a dog daycare and boarding that would allow for dogs to be outside throughout the day was the right business to be approved in that area. The residents present at the city council meeting expressed the following concerns: - consistent barking and other noises will prevent residents of the area who work night jobs from sleeping and resting during the day, concern of space for the dogs, concern of dogs interacting and barking at possums, rodents, and snakes during the night, concern about the oversight of any compliance issues.
One resident claimed that the opening of the dog boutique would lower her property value because of the noise.
Despite the many concerns, Kidd continued to underscore that she would take all necessary measures for the upkeep of the property, “Since this is my business, my reputation, I am going to take care of it.” Furthermore, Kidd said that she would be more than willing to distribute personal contact information to any concerned neighbor or business so they could contact her with any immediate issues that may arise.
After about an hour of debate and listening to public comments, the city council took a vote. Four council members voted to approve the repeal while three denied. However, because the council was voting to repeal the planning commission's denial for Kidd’s Conditional Use request, a super majority vote was needed. At this time, Kidd will not be allowed to open her business in the Sunset Drive property.
In other business, the city council approved the 2017 Annual Action Plan for use of CDBG and HOME grant funds and authorized City Manager Daniel Valenzuela to execute various documents for the allocation of $688,898 of CDBG grant funds, $249,197 HOME grant fund and $56,000 in program income. Furthermore, the City approved the first public hearing of an ordinance deleting Chapter 10, Article 10.03, Division 6 “Use of Wireless Communication Devices” from the City of San Angelo Code of Ordinances.
On January 5, 2016, the City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting texting and driving in the City of San Angelo. At that time, council instructed that the ordinance should remain in effect until State Legislature passes a texting and driving ban. Through HB 62, which will go into effect on September 1, 2017, the Texas Legislature has banned texting and driving in the State of Texas. Therefore, the City of San Angelo's ordinance, while slightly more restrictive than HB 62, is no longer necessary to ban texting and driving after September 1, 2017.
The next meeting is scheduled for August 15th at 8:30 a.m. at the McNease Convention Center. As always, city council meetings are open to the public.
UPDATE: August 3, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
The City has issued a statement regarding the possibility of a new dog daycare on Sunset.
According to the City's public information officer, Kidd's request was denied despite the council's 4-3 vote. According the public information officer, a super majority was needed to repeal the planning commission's denial. Therefore, Kidd's request to open her family owned business next to Big Lots and across from Red Lobster was denied.
The previous reported approval of Kidd's Conditional Use request has been changed to reflect this newly received information.