Board OKs permit for dog training center

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County leaders gave the green light Tuesday for a dog training facility near Mount Jackson.

The Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 at its regular meeting to approve a special-use permit requested by Marian Windel to operate the Paws Mountain Training and Boarding Center at 5783 Orkney Grade. The 17.2-acre property in District 2 lies surrounded by wooded areas, land in agricultural and residential use.

The Planning Commission and the board held a public hearing on the permit request in December. The Office of Community Development worked with applicants Windel and Judy Parrish to address any concerns or questions raised about their proposed use of the property.

Windel and Judy Parrish are retired Episcopal priests who operate the Sophia House in Louisa, Virginia, according to information from the Office of Community Development. The Sophia House provides an accessible conference and retreat center.

The permit conditions include a limit of 15 on the number of dogs allowed to stay in the facility overnight. The permit limits the number of prefabricated kennels on the site to six. The owners plan to add three kennels to the three already on the property. They also intend to move all kennels to the rear of the property behind the house that, along with a shed, would serve as an additional sound barrier.

The business will provide training during daytime hours only. Windel expects three to five people with dogs on the property for training during the week.

The owners also plan to install a 6-foot fence around the perimeter of the training and kennel area to secure the dogs. They intend to add a fabric privacy screen to a portion of the fence to buffer the noise and prevent distractions.

Parrish and Windel plan to apply for a land-use permit and to widen the entrance to ensure that sight distance remains unimpeded. The Virginia Department of Transportation advised county officials that the owners would need to upgrade the entrance to the business to adhere to state standards.

The owners plan to address accessibility requirements by providing transportation from the parking lot to the training area via golf cart. They plan to provide a scooter, if necessary, to patrons using the training area and they  intend to install ramps to the entrances of the training structure and a portable toilet by the kennels.

Also at the meeting, the board:
• Authorized holding a public hearing March 28 on proposed changes to the county code chapter pertaining to taxation. Specifically the proposed changes include deletion of provisions related to unlicensed or inoperable motor vehicles, farm animals and machinery. The proposal also seeks to change the financial worth requirements for senior citizens and disabled people to receive a tax exemption.
• Approved a motion to carry forward $82,656 from the county’s contingency fund into the next fiscal budget to cover the remaining amount needed to buy a replacement ambulance. The county anticipated receiving a grant to cover 80 percent of the vehicle’s cost. The county received $141,120 – only 50 percent of the cost. Price asked the board to appropriate the remaining $82,656 in the fiscal 2018 budget. The county likely would not receive the vehicle until January at the earliest. Price said it was unfortunate that the county did not receive the anticipated 80 percent but noted that the amount awarded is still favorable.

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