Weekly Feature

2017-10-04 / Front Page

Town Board neuters dog kennel proposal

by ETHAN POWERS
Editor

Every dog may have its day, though none will have it at 5540 Salt Road.

At the Town Board’s Sept. 27 meeting, Gregory and Katherine Schimenti requested a temporary conditional permit to operate a dog boarding kennel out of their Salt Road home.

The Schimentis’ plan was to build five kennels within their attached garage to hold five to eight dogs. No more than two dogs would be allowed outside at a time, and while overnight boarding would be permitted, the dogs would be brought inside by dusk.

No signage or advertising would be erected near the home, as the Schimentis noted that they would be dealing primarily with family and friends. Acoustic foam panels would be layered within the garage to mitigate noise, and no additional fencing would be needed around the perimeter of their back yard.

“There’s no physical addition along our fencing,” said Gregory Schimenti. “It will be in our garage, five small kennels that will be partitioned off.”

“It’s something I can do at home with the kids, and I can still be there,” added Katherine Gregory, his wife.

While the Clarence town code doesn’t specify a maximum number of dogs allowed per home, Town Board members expressed trepidation at greenlighting a hotel for dogs within a residential neighborhood.

“I worry about the effects on your neighbors,” said Supervisor Pat Casilio. “The neighborhood is not zoned for anything like this. I worry about the traffic associated with it and the noise.”

The Schimentis noted that they had pitched the idea to their next-door neighbors, who responded positively. Mark Collins, their neighbor to the south, approached the board to express his support of the project.

“They’ve lived here for a year and have improved that house immensely. I’m all for it,” he said. “My bedroom is probably 70 feet from their garage. I’d like to see this happen for a young couple.”

Yet, officials firmly stated that their disapproval stemmed from the town’s history in dealing with similar projects, which have almost unanimously failed. A kennel on Transit Road and one on County Road ultimately proved unsuccessful due to complaints relating to noise from residents who lived more than 100 yards away.

“Historically, from a zoning perspective, we’ve had nothing but trouble with anything related to boarding dogs because the noise carries an incredible distance,” said Jim Callahan, the town’s director of community development.

Katherine Schimenti responded by noting the difference in size between previous kennel projects and the one she and her husband hoped to establish.

“I think there’s a big difference in size. They can hold 30 to 40 dogs, and they’re not out there constantly; they’re not only letting two dogs out at a time,” she said. “Even if it were approved and the permit got revoked in three months or six months, then we probably wouldn’t want it there either because we would be up all night. We have three small children.”

The Town Board’s stance was unwavering.

“I’m not in favor of it,” said Casilio, prior to the Town Board’s unanimous vote of rejection. “I deal on a daily basis with complaints about neighbors running businesses out of their home. If there’s a scale of 1 to 10 of running a business out of your home, this has got to be a 14 as far as the noise and possible smell associated with the dogs. … It’s a temporary permit. I would hate to see you spend that money and a year later have the permit denied after you made the improvements.”

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