CANTON — After negative reactions from nearby residents, the Cherokee County Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to recommend denial of a special use permit request for a pet daycare and boarding facility on East Cherokee Drive.
The case will go before the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners for a decision at its June 1 meeting.
Dylan Bartlett had submitted a special use permit application to establish Puppy Play Ranch, a pet boarding, training and daycare location, at 6642 East Cherokee Drive. His application also included variances to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 24 to 20, count all of the trees located in the property’s undisturbed stream buffers to the required site density for the property and an exemption from the need to build a deceleration lane at the entrance to the facility. The nearly five acre property is located on land zoned agricultural by the county for and is located near Avery Elementary School, according to Cherokee County Zoning Manager Michael Chapman.
Bartlett and his representative, Ashley Hughes, said there would be 64 indoor/outdoor kennels, allowing the pets there to both enjoy the outdoors and be sheltered inside within the same kennel. A fenced-in area behind the building would provide open space for outdoor exercise, while there would also be gravel trails for staff to take animals at the center on extended walks. Staff would be on site 24 hours a day to watch over the animals and address any situations that could arise. To help cut down on noise, a custom sound reduction system would be installed in the building and sound barrier material would be attached to the fence surrounding the facility. The two also argued there is a need for this sort of business in the community.
Many of those attending the planning commission meeting turned out for this case, including six area residents who spoke publicly in opposition to the facility. The speakers said a pet daycare was not an appropriate use of the site and would seriously disrupt the quality of life for area residents.
“The thought of having a commercial enterprise kind of shocked us to begin with,” Karen Craft said. “The project will be a noise nuisance, and it will be smelly.”
Edward Asher said he was concerned about the impact cleaning chemicals and the pet waste material could have on the local water table. In response to this, Bartlett and Hughes said pet waste would be collected and disposed of with a waste material company to keep it out of the water table.
“I would like to suggest to Mr. Bartlett and to the commission that this use would be better suited for the industrial corridor that the planners dedicated years ago between Canton and Ball Ground,” Chip Sellers said.
Answering concerns residents had about the design of the building and the cleaning chemicals that would be used, Bartlett and Hughes said cleaning products would be made with all-natural ingredients and the facility would be built out of cinder blocks and designed to look like a farmhouse.
After the company responded to neighbors’ complaints, planning commissioners were not convinced to support issuing a permit for the facility.
“The land use plan for country estates is low intensity. A kennel that can manage 100 dogs plus is not low intensity,” Commission Member Rick Whiteside said.
Commission Member Tom Ware said he agreed with the residents about noise concerns. Commission Member Tom Hill added the area is relatively rural, but is not sparsely populated, and due to that, he felt this use would be better suited in an area of the county that is truly rural in nature.