Controversial plans to open a dog boarding business in Star Valley were shelved Tuesday night by the town council, who decided to send the issue back to the planning and zoning commission for further review.
John Killips requested a conditional use permit to open Snuggle Dogs B&B, a dog boarding operation, in the 200 block of Claxton Road.
Killips says he and Nancy Barbera will provide a natural, barkless environment for boarding three to five dogs for no more than two weeks at a time.
Killips said he does not tolerate needless barking or fighting and will take all measures to ensure the dogs are well behaved. This includes screening prospective dogs in a 30-minute process where Killips watches the dog’s and owner’s behavior. He also plans to stay home throughout the day and, as an aside, donate 10 percent of profits to the Payson Humane Society.
But neighbors and council members wondered how Killips could guarantee no barking, since dogs bark, pointed out council member Nathalie Stroup.
“All dogs don’t bark,” Killips told the audience.
Killips asked the council to grant him a conditional use permit (CUP) and place whatever conditions on it, so long as he is given a chance.
“Until I am proved wrong, I don’t think I should be judged,” Killips said. “All I am asking for is a chance.”
But neighbors and the Planning and Zoning Commission worry that it would be impossible to run a noiseless operation, and barking could become a major issue and possibly lower the value of the neighborhood.
On Jan. 13, the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended denying the permit based partly on strong opposition from the community. Chairperson Steven Salattii said if more residents in favor of Killips had shown up, the decision could have been different.
Dan Basinski, who lives adjacent to the property, said he does not want the council to issue any conditional use permits to Killips.
“You owe it to us and the zoning commission to listen,” Basinski said. “I do not care to live next to a boarding kennel. If I wanted to, I would live in central Payson.”
Lynn Andrew, who lives northeast of the property, said she is worried about the possible noise.
“I am not objecting to starting a business, the problem is offering a conditional use permit,” Andrew said. “Who is going to monitor that and report barking?”
Town Manager Tim Grier said code enforcement officer Richard Baranzini would be in charge of monitoring and responding to any complaints.
Several of Killips’ neighbors stood and said they supported the business because Killips is a reasonable dog caretaker.
Mayor Chuck Heron suggested the issue be returned to the Planning and Zoning Commission, who could meet with Killips and go over conditions for the permit. The council moved to postpone the issue until conditions are drawn up and Killips has time to meet with neighbors and get letters of their support.
Also at the meeting, the council voted unanimously to appoint Gary Plunkett to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
They also approved a resolution allowing Mayor Heron to sign an application for the Community Development Block Grant funds. Based on two public hearings, the town is requesting around $140,000 in grant funding to build culverts.
If all goes as planned, the town should receive the grant funds by the end of 2009, said Deputy Town Clerk Stephanie Jones.