Board OKs use of former shelter for pet kennel

By Alex Bridges

FRONT ROYAL — A Warren County woman plans to turn the former animal shelter into a kennel for dogs, cats and other creatures.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve Tamara West’s request for a conditional-use permit that allows her to run a boarding kennel out of the old Humane Society facility at 380 Menefee Lane. The shelter operated from the 1960s until 2002 when the Humane Society opened in the Happy Creek area, said Planning Director Taryn Logan. The county bought the 1.75-acre property in 2010. County ordinance allows 10 kennels on the site, each containing two dogs. Cat kennels also exist on the property.

Board Chairman Archie Fox voted against the motion to approve the permit, citing concern over the potential noise the kennel could generate. County officials told the board the facility is far from the nearest residence.

“I’m a little bit concerned about the neighbors and barking dogs,” Fox said.

The county kennel ordinance requires animals to remain inside a facility during certain hours at night, Logan said. Animals can stay outside from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The ordinance also limits the noise to below a certain decibel level.

During the public hearing, Luray Avenue resident William Simpson said he opposed the permit request because of the potential noise from the kennel and the effect the use may have on the value of the land owned by his son that lies adjacent to the former dog pound site.

Polk Avenue resident Pam Foster spoke in support of the permit request and said the site in its current condition probably has more of a negative effect on the values of the land around it.

“You have someone here who’s willing to come along and improve the property, have a workable, viable business going into the property,” Foster said.

Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr. said the county would need to approve at least a 5-year lease on the property to cover the $51,000 estimated cost to make repairs on the kennel building.

West runs a local business in which she travels to homes to care for people’s pets, but sought to expand the operation to the boarding facility, Logan said. West has proposed to hire two full-time and two part-time employees, Logan added.

West originally proposed to run a full business at the location, with clients coming to the facility. However, the Virginia Department of Transportation determined that the existing entrance to the property can only accommodate 20 vehicles per day because of the limited sight distance, Logan said. West has since agreed to pick up the clients’ pets instead and bring the animals to the kennel.

Conditions under the permit include:

  • A limit of 20 dogs and 15 cats, with the boarding operation limited to dogs, cats, domestic rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs
  • No breeding
  • No client traffic to the property; applicant or employee shall bring animals to the kennel
  • No signs to identify the property as a commercial kennel
  • Existing entrance limited to a maximum of 20 trips per day as allowed by the Virginia Department of Transportation
  • Any structure housing animals no closer than 52 feet to the rear of the property, 58 feet from the front line and 15 feet to the side
  • A restriction on hours of operation

Also at the meeting the board:

  • Approved a request from Wayne A. Lee to rezone 4442 Remount Road from residential to agricultural that would allow him to keep a few farm animals on his 5-acre property. No one spoke at the public hearing held on the request. Lee responded to questions from the board. Under the proffers submitted by Lee the owner could keep one goat, one horse and one llama per acre of land on the property. Lee agreed not to keep pigs or chickens on the property.
  • Approved a conditional-use permit to Linda R. Williams for private-use camping on less than an acre of residential-zoned property off Farms River Road in the Shenandoah Farms Review subdivision. No one spoke during the public hearing. Williams needed the permit to allow her to use the riverside lot for camping and parking of two recreational vehicles. The permit also sets up a principle use for recreation in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Planner Matt Wendling explained that previous owner Jerry Williams periodically violated a permit by parking three recreational vehicles on three, contiguous lots. Jerry Williams deeded the property to his wife, Linda Williams, in order to bring the permit into compliance. All lots have been well maintained. The lot in question has two concrete pad sites for recreational vehicles owned by Linda Williams’ family.
  • Approved a contract with Pennoni Associates Inc. for engineering services on the Leach Run Parkway project. Pennoni and 11 other firms responded to a request for proposals issued earlier this year by Front Royal, the county and the Economic Development Authority. A committee of representatives from the three parties picked Pennoni of Winchester and negotiated the terms, time schedule and price of the contract. Pennoni has agreed to complete construction designs within 8 ½ months of receiving a notice to proceed. Pennoni also will assist with the pre-qualification of bidders and evaluation of bids for construction, conduct oversight of the work, all for a contract price of $712,000.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com