Wellington North defers amendment to allow kennel pending discussion amongst neighbours

KENILWORTH – Wellington North councillors say there should be more discussion amongst neighbours before they make a decision on a proposed dog kennel.

The proposed amendment to rezone the subject lands to permit a dog kennel was discussed by council on Oct. 21.

The property, located at  8949 Concession 11, is 37.37 hectares (92.34 acres) in size, is currently zoned agricultural (A) and is occupied by a single dwelling, barn and sheds.

Applicants Erla and Marvin Bauman propose to remove two existing sheds and construct a new 197.3m2 (2,124 ft2) accessory structure for the dog kennel.

Wellington County senior planner Michelle Innocente noted planning staff generally has no concerns with the rezoning application, as a  kennel is a permitted use within prime agricultural areas.

She noted the proposed use is well removed from the core greenland designated portion of the property.

However zoning regulations in Wellington North restrict kennels unless a zoning amendment is implemented.

Innocente stated there are specific requirements in the kennel licencing bylaw: minimum acreage, minimum distance from residences or livestock barns and various setbacks – plus the applicant will have to submit a detailed site plan.

She noted there was a similar application before council last year for the same property, but “this is an entirely new application.”

Mayor Andy Lennox said provisions in the kennel licencing bylaw are designed to prevent conflict with neighbours.

Applicant Marvin Bauman said he believes the proposed operation is far removed from neighbouring structures and the dogs would be controlled within the kennel. He understood the operation would be subject to inspection.

Area resident Terrance Rothwell noted his family had sent two letters to council (2018 and 2019) regarding the proposed kennel.

“My purpose tonight is to be emphatically clear that there is no personal grievance with the Baumans,” Rothwell said.

“It is important the conversation does not degenerate into negative rhetoric. While our families differ diametrically in this particular application, we are strong proponents of farm economic diversification and prosperity.

He added, “Rural folks should not be put into a position of having to generate disruptive, farm-hindering non-agricultural income at the expense of their neighbours. For this reason, we object in the strongest possible terms to this application. Let’s stop the conflict before it starts.”

Another objector at the meeting owns a nearby four-acre vacant lot. He stated while he and his wife currently live in Guelph, they intend to “return home” and build a home on the lot.

He contended he has found the applicant’s existing dogs on his property and he hears barking at various times of the day. He said 25 dogs would create more problems with noise and conflict in the future.

Bauman said he owns a large property and the dog runs with the tractor and occasionally onto neighbouring properties.

“If you want, we can destroy the dog … but it would be hard to see him go,” he said.

Rothwell stated, “That is not what we are saying, implying or suggesting. We would not want to see any innocent animal needlessly put to death.”

Councillor Sherry Burke asked who would inspect the kennel. CAO Mike Givens said that work would be done by the animal control officer.

Burke asked what the applicant’s experience was in opening a kennel and if he understood all the steps required under the kennel licencing bylaw.

“It is a fairly large expense to go through – demolishing two buildings, building a new one, and potentially not being able to meet the requirements to get the kennel licence,” said Burke.

Bauman said he owns three dogs now and has had talks with the township. He added the site will be inspected and if he is not meeting those requirements the licence would taken away.

He said he would be able to take the appropriate steps to reduce any noise.

Councillor Lisa Hern said she too lives on a farm and has frequent conversation with her neighbours. She asked why these conversations had not happened before coming to council.

Bauman said did not know it was going to be a problem, adding he is willing to talk with his neighbours.

Hern asked how Bauman intended to keep the dogs quiet at night. Bauman said the dogs would be locked inside at night.

Councillor Dan Yake said he too believes discussion between the applicant and the neighbours needs to happen before the issue ever reaches council.

He noted, “Sometimes that discussion will help solve an issue or at least make it better.”

Councillor Steve McCabe asked, “Can we defer this until the neighbours have a chance to chat?”

Council’s voted to defer a decision until the applicant had a chance to speak with his neighbours.