Committee favors change to county code on dog kennels
Business property serviced with sewer and water would require only an acre
BY KEVIN BONESKE
In response to a pending conditional use application to operate a pet daycare in the town of Minocqua, Oneida County’s Planning and Development Committee favors a change in the county code as it relates to the minimum acreage to operate a dog kennel in a business district serviced with sewer and water.
The permit application by the Donald Sedlak Trust is for a pet daycare, retail pet products sales, grooming and pet training facility, along with a physical rehabilitation area and pool for recovering dogs, which would be located in an existing building at 9586 Clawson Dr., where there is sewer and water service in the town.
However, as noted by county planning and zoning director Karl Jennrich, there is only an acre of property at that site, while the county code requires a minimum of five acres to have a dog kennel, which would be in existence to operate the business as proposed.
Committee member Billy Fried, who is also on the Minocqua Town Board, spoke at Wednesday’s county Planning and Development Committee meeting in favor of establishing that business in the town.
“(The doggy daycare) is a unique, exciting opportunity that the planning commission of Minocqua and town has supported moving forward,” Fried said. “The hang-up has been some old wording…that requires 5 acres for kenneling facilities, which presented to me was more in the intent for breeding – not this new generation business that’s out there.”
Fried said the town of Minocqua is asking the county to revisit the size requirement and reduce it to an acre.
“I thought it would be in the best interest of trying to help move things around, instead of doing them backwards, by bringing it forward to the committee now, as opposed to being something that has to be done after possibly the CUP (conditional use permit) is voted on,” he said.
Jennrich said the county code requires a minimum 5 acres and 300 feet of frontage and width to operate a dog kennel.
“The reason why they have 300 feet of frontage and width is that in the setbacks to side yards, any facility that’s used to board animals has a 100-foot setback to (a) side yard,” said Jennrich, who also noted the logic of the 5-acre minimum was having more of a buffer around the border of the property.
Jim Rein of Wilderness Surveying, who appeared at the committee meeting on behalf of the business, argued the county’s definition of “kennel” refers to “breeding animals for sale or boarding.”
“Doggy daycare does not have breeding, does not have animals for sale, and it’s temporary boarding,” Rein said. “So is it technically a kennel? They put that in there. They say, ‘Yeah, it is,’ but it doesn’t really fit the definition perfectly.”
He said the town board concluded a doggy daycare business could never be supported by requiring 5 acres of property in a business district with sewer and water “because the value of that land is such that it would support a Walmart, a Lowe’s – it wouldn’t be a doggy daycare.”
Rein also noted the town determined a doggy daycare business could easily be supported on an acre of land in a business district with sewer and water because “it’s housed indoors in a building with temporary outside use for the animals.”
“The town put on the condition that it had to be an acre, and we had to do some lot line adjustments and stuff like that to make it work,” he said.
Rein said the town favored allowing up to 10 dogs to be boarded overnight, and if the owner would want to increase the number of dogs to board, then the owner would have to obtain an administrative review permit.
Jennrich said boarding in the county code applies in instances when someone is paying someone else to take care of a dog, whether the boarding is for the day or overnight.
“It meets the definition of kennel,” he said. “Five acres is required. So the committee’s got to decide – do you want to keep it at 5 acres, or do you want to reduce it to what the town suggests, an acre?”
Rein pointed out the Minocqua Dog Park located near Walmart is less than 5 acres and also located in a business district.
Committee member Mike Timmons raised concerns about the possibility of noise from barking of dogs while operating a doggy daycare.
“If you’re there, you’re not going to allow your dog to bark, bark, bark,” Timmons said. “But if you’re in a kennel, and they shut the door for the night and they go home, which happens, and that dog starts barking, what are the neighbors that are behind going to say?”
Rein said the pet daycare would be located in a business district with sewer and water, as opposed to a residential area that wouldn’t have sewer and water.
“There’s enough noise there as it is, plus (U.S. Hwy. 51) right there on it, too,” he said. “So, it’s not like in a residential area.”
Committee members agreed to direct planning and zoning department staff to put together an amendment to the county code that would reduce the lot size requirement to one acre for a pet boarding facility in a business district with sewer and water.
A public hearing on the permit application by the Donald Sedlak Trust is scheduled April 6 before the county Planning and Zoning Committee, which could give final approval to the permit.