Kennel expansion discussion continues

Published 4:03 pm Friday, June 18, 2021

Debate on Parker’s Place heard by board of adjustments

A commercial dog kennel owner wants to expand her business. Residential neighbors are against it. And the Danville-Boyle County Board of Adjustments must decide who prevails — or figure out a way that both sides can be satisfied.

There was standing room only at the BOA public hearing Tuesday night when Wendy Lannigan, owner of Parker’s Place dog kennel, presented evidence for a conditional use permit and setback variance for the construction of a second building on her 2.1-acre lot at 1845 Harrodsburg Road near the end of Maple Avenue.

Wendy Lannigan, owner of Parker’s Place Kennels, speaks at the Boyle County Board of Adjustments public hearing Tuesday night at city hall. -Photo by Robin Hart

The existing building was constructed late in 2019 in an agriculture zone under the county’s old zoning ordinances. Now, because the daycare and grooming aspects of Lannigan’s business are increasing, she wants to erect a second building on the property. But the proposed building will have to meet the county’s new zoning regulations, which were approved just days after Parker’s Place original permits were approved by Planning and Zoning.

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At the hearing, supporters of Parker’s Place sat together wearing bright blue T-shirts that read “We Love Our Kennel.” Concerned Argyll neighbors stayed together as well, most who were in opposition of the expansion claiming that constant barking was a tremendous nuisance, and an expansion would compound the problem.

After nearly three hours of hearing testimonies from both sides, asking questions and discussing the kennel owner’s requests and conditions that she would research and could agree to, the BOA could not make a final decision.

Therefore it tabled the issue and will continue the hearing at its next meeting at 5 p.m. on July 20 when Lannigan will present possible updated conditions and the board will have time to consider some “word smithing” options.

Because Lannigan is requesting to construct a second building, she was required to apply for a conditional use permit and a variance for the proposed new structure concerning 500-foot setbacks from residential property — something that was not required under the old ordinance for property located in the agriculture district.

After Planning and Zoning Director Steve Hunter explained the technicalities of Parker’s Place applications, Lannigan explained how her kennel operates overnight care, daycare, and grooming.

Lannigan said that she “grossly underestimated” the need for dog daycare when she first started construction in late 2019.

“It has far exceeded my expectations,” she said. “We’ve had a cap on new daycare customers since the beginning of April. … And the list is multiple pages of people who are asking to be in daycare, and I can’t bring them in. … It’s not because I can’t hire people, it’s because I don’t have the square to spare. I just don’t have the space.”

In addition, the grooming facet of Parker’s Place is forced to schedule appointments too far in advance. She said her groomer, Connie McGirr, has worked in the profession for more than 30 years.

“If you call today, it’s eight weeks until we can get you in,” Lannigan said.

So she’s planning to hire more groomers if she’s allowed to build a second structure.

Lannigan said the additional building will allow her daycare to accept more clients and give them more indoor space in which to play, which will decrease their time outside, thereby decreasing the amount of time that dogs would bark outdoors.

Three people spoke passionately on behalf of Parker’s Place and how Lannigan and her employees took good care of their pets.

Several neighbors also spoke passionately about how constant barking was a nuisance, whether the dogs were outside in one of the six play yards, or even inside the building. Some said they could hear barking when the dogs were inside and their home’s windows were closed.

A few also complained about the smell and traffic concerns on Maple Avenue.

“That expansion that I’m wanting to do, I think, should be clear that’s not an impact on many of the concerns, that I think are relevant. The expansion would involve daycare and grooming,” Lannigan said.

She added, “The addition doesn’t necessarily double my business. It doubles my space. I hope to be able to accommodate a few more of the people that are on my current waiting list. And I hope grooming does not stretch itself out to be an 8-week waiting list.”

Currently, 40 dogs is the limit for daycare, but she said that number isn’t reached every day. Also, Lannigan said no more than 12 to 16 dogs are ever outside at any one time, and that won’t increase because she’s not adding more outside play yards.

After several neighbors testified about the problems they were dealing with by having the kennel located near their homes and why they didn’t want the kennel to expand, Lannigan was given time for rebuttal.

She said, “Everybody’s accusations are heard. However, I haven’t seen any proof. Stating something and proving something is two different things. And everything that I’ve heard has been relevant of the existing building, which is not up for discussion.”

She added, “My addition has everything I think it would lower noise, not add to noise. … I’m going to grow. I can grow and have an indoor building for my growth, or I can grow and utilize my outside more. I’m not being threatening, I’m just saying. I’m going to grow.”

Board chair George Coomer asked Lannigan, “Is there anything you can do to abate the noise?”

“I’m not convinced there is a noise problem,” she answered.

Coomer asked the question again and Lannigan said, “With all due respect, there’s not a noise ordinance. I’m in the county. We chose that location for that very reason, and that’s not what’s at stake.”

Coomer said, “You’re there legally. … Is there anything you can do to make it better,” he asked Lannigan.

She answered, “Yes. I can have more space.”