Fairfield residents to fight planned animal hospital, pet hotel – CTPost


FAIRFIELD —  A “modern, state of the art, full service animal hospital” will go before the Plan and Zoning Commission Jan. 10. Neighbors, though, are worried about the area going to the dogs.

Residents have started organizing opposition to the plan for the property, which currently is the site of an abandoned car dealership. The proposal for Spot On Veterinary Hospital and Hotel is to convert the property into an animal hospital with a pet hotel and pet day care with grooming and training services.

The applicant is requesting site plan approval and a zoning regulation amendment to allow for the use. Residents have expressed concerns about its impact on the immediate area and the amendment’s possible impact on the town as a whole.  

Julia Mackeprang, a resident living on Overhill Road, said she was neutral about the plans at first, until one of her neighbors reached out to people living next to similar facilities in other towns, and found many people were unhappy.

“Across the board, they have pretty horrible experiences living next to this type of facility, due to the noise and the smell, ” she said. “We read about a lawsuit that’s ongoing right now in New Haven with a business called Paw Haven. ”

Mackeprang said the amendment proposed by the applicant could lead to other similar facilities being built in commercial districts abutting residential neighborhoods across the town. She noted residents possess created a petition opposing the plan, and it currently has more than 300 signatures.

John Knuff, the attorney for the applicant, did not respond to request for comment.

Mackeprang said the plans for the business say there will be more than a dozen dogs outside during the day for hours at a time every day.

“With so many people who work and study from home, the constant noise would be really disruptive, ” she said. “It’s a quality of life issue. We want to enjoy our homes and outdoor spaces. inch

Mackeprang said there is a large group of people working together to oppose the plan and the regulation change, noting those people extend beyond just being residents of their neighborhood. She said approximately 50 residents have written letters to the TPZ about the issue.  

One such resident is Wells Dixon, a Fairfield Place resident, who said Tuesday that the issue with the proposal is one that has been at the center of a lot of discourse around development in recent years.

“What kind of town is Fairfield? Are we primarily a residential town for families with children like mine? Or are we going to radically reshape the fundamental nature of this town to allow for commercial and, really, industrial type uses that have long been prohibited in most of the city? ” he said. “I’ve lived in town for more than a decade, and we certainly appreciate our local businesses. ”

But , Dixon said, those businesses have to be appropriate plus complimentary to the residential character of the town. He stated the town’s plan of conservation and development guides what that means, and is especially important when it comes to businesses that are literally “over the fence” from residential communities.

Dixon said the proposed modification would have “significant negative consequences” both for his neighborhood and for the town at large. He said people in his community have real concerns regarding allowing commercial dog boarding, such as those about noise, smells and dogs biting people.

“If a dog were to get out and bite one of my kids, that would be a huge problem for everybody, ” he said, going on to speak about sound issues. “One or two dogs barking incessantly will be annoying. Eighty to 100 dogs barking incessantly is usually torture. ” 

Dixon mentioned the amendment, if passed, would allow for that to be an issue in any area near the designed commercial district, which the majority of 2269 Post Rd. is zoned as, and which the amendment impacts.  

Ben Proto, an attorney hired by other neighbors to oppose the plans as well as the Chairman of Connecticut’s Republican State Central Committee, said the regulation as written by the applicant is broad and vague.

“Normally, there’s very specific criteria, inch he said. “When you read language and it says, ‘Reasonable effort shall be made to eradicate unreasonable noise plus smell’ — unreasonable in order to who? What are reasonable efforts and who gets to decide that? ”

Proto stated the veterinary hospital and hotel is needed in Fairfield, but there are other properties that would be a better fit. He mentioned he also takes problem with how the proposal is framed.

“Basically, what they are attempting to do here is say, ‘We’re a veterinary hospital that is going to offer dog daycare services, “‘ he said. “When the reality is they are a dog daycare facility that’s going to maybe offer some level of veterinary services. ”

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