MOOREFIELD – Mapleton council has denied a local farmer a zoning bylaw amendment that would permit a dog kennel near Drayton.
Marvin Weber applied for a kennel on farmland on Wellington Road 8 near Drayton so he could keep his three dogs and add three or four more with the intent to breed them.
“Pretty much I’m getting people who are wanting me to be registered so that’s what I’m doing,” Weber said at the Oct. 13 public meeting at the Maryborough Community Centre.
From a planning perspective there were no objections to the application, but chief building official Patty Wright said a buffer would be required as a noise barrier and the application would also be subject to site plan control.
“Planning staff generally have no concerns with the rezoning application to permit a kennel within a new accessory structure on the subject lands,” said Wellington County planner Matthiew Daoust in his report to council.
However, the farm is located close to Drayton and even though there is nothing within the mandatory 150m radius of the proposed kennel, one of the abutting neighbours is Conestoga Crest, a not-for-profit facility that houses about 32 seniors on Wood Street in Drayton.
“We do oppose the rezoning of the subject lands to a dog kennel,” said Conestoga Crest president Keith McIntosh at the public meeting.
“The reason for our opposition is a dog kennel on a neighbouring property would most definitely be a noise issue.”
He said the Crest is currently located at the end of a dead end street so residents can live in a quiet atmosphere.
“In most cases seniors do not have the luxury to get out as we do,” McIntosh said. “They’re quite often limited to their patios or their units for enjoyment.
“Just recently we installed a patio to allow for outside mingling and enjoyment.”
McIntosh said seniors are more sensitive to noise issues and he feels the dog kennel could impact residents’ daytime relaxation.
“And maybe in some cases force them to keep their windows closed, not sit on their patios … not to mention the impact that it would have on their sleeping patterns,” he said.
“Seniors often have sleeping challenges as it is. Dogs barking early in the morning and into the evening would certainly be an issue.”
Councillor Marlene Ottens said her mother lives at Conestoga Crest.
“That’s not a pecuniary interest, but it is of interest,” Ottens said.
Adding “your farm is much closer than what I had thought,” Ottens said, “So the sound would carry quite easily over the field.
“It’s interesting to me that you say you already have the three dogs and there’s been no complaints so far but that doesn’t mean that’s going to last forever, especially if you add three more and batches of puppies.”
She said it would have been better if there was already a tree buffer rather than just open field.
Councillor Paul Douglas asked whether Weber would be willing to move the kennel from the current planned location to the other side of the barn so the structure could act as a buffer.
“It’s already there but I would be willing to move it,” Weber said.
This seemed to confuse Mayor Gregg Davidson, who asked, “Are you not proposing to build a new building there?”
Weber answered, “Well, the building has been there and … I’m trying to get it approved.
“Either I need to get rid of my dogs and leave it empty or just make it legal.”
Councillor Dennis Craven was concerned about the abutting properties – both the Crest and property slotted for future development.
“I’m a little bit concerned, will this affect the future development sometime down the road?” he asked.
Wellington County senior planner Michelle Innocente, who represented Daoust at the meeting, clarified the licensing for the kennel would be reviewed on an annual basis.
“If perhaps there was a dwelling that was closer than 150 metres to that kennel then it would no longer meet the requirements of the kennel licensing bylaw,” she clarified.
However, the future development area is outside of the 150m radius of the proposed kennel.
“I’m going to have a lot of trouble supporting this,” Craven said.
Councillor Michael Martin asked how the township could be sure the property looks like what was approved in the zoning bylaw amendment and through site plan control.
Wright explained there is an annual inspection included with the kennel bylaw that ensures compliance.
“We’ve had this situation come up where they put it somewhere else and we said no and refused their kennel license until they put it where it was passed through the zoning amendment,” she said.
Martin also pointed out there are already 12 licensed kennels in the township.
He suggested council and staff work together to come up with the number of kennels the municipality is willing to host.
He also said he thought it would be a good idea to outline all the requirements to have a dog kennel.
“We want all these things so the property owners are held accountable … I would welcome something like that in the future or at least a conversation about it,” he said.
No one at the public meeting spoke in favour of the dog kennel.
A motion to bring Weber’s zoning bylaw amendment to the next council meeting for approval was defeated, with just Douglas in favour and Martin, Craven and Ottens opposed.