Planners look to distance themselves from kennel regulation

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 13, 2007

COURTLAND—A proposed new ordinance that would make most dog kennels a matter of administrative review sailed through the Planning Commission Thursday.

Planners voted 8-0, with Commissioner Keith Tennessee absent, to recommend the change to Southampton’s zoning laws after a brief public hearing in which two residents complained about the effects of existing county kennels.

Raymond Drake, a Newsoms resident for more than four decades, said that for the past 25 years, he and his wife have had to put up with the noise of a nearby kennel, with dogs that bark &uot;sometimes 24 hours a day.&uot;

He said a proposed requirement for a 75-foot separation between a private kennel and neighboring residences &uot;is a joke&uot; and pleaded with the commission for stricter control over dog kennels.

&uot;People will be very unhappy&uot; with the environment that results from allowing kennels under the guidelines proposed in the new ordinance, he predicted.

&uot;Anybody who’s ever lived next door to a coon dog, I sympathize with them,&uot; he added.

The proposed plan would add &uot;private kennel&uot; and &uot;hunt club kennel&uot; classifications to the county’s zoning ordinance and would allow people with six to 25 dogs to get kennel permits for such operations without subjecting them to the current, lengthy public hearing process.

Among those requirements would be an application fee of $100, submitted along with a site plan that includes plans for screening, showing the property to be a minimum of two acres and confirming the kennel to be set back at least 25 feet from all property lines, 50 feet from all water sources and 75 feet from all residences.

A plan for caring for the animals and disposing of their waste also would be required, and the sale of more than five dogs per year would be prohibited. The county’s animal control officer and health department would be involved, and the zoning staff would inspect the property each year.

Once an applicant met the new requirements, his neighbors would be notified and allowed a 30-day comment period. Administrators would be able to approve applications that did not receive objections.

Applications with objections or requests for private kennel permits for kennels housing more than 25 dogs would be sent to the Board of Zoning Appeals and would be subject to a $300 application fee.

A hunt club kennel would be allowed as an accessory use of the club, with a maximum of 50 dogs kept on a minimum of one acre and a required setback of at least 150 feet from adjacent residences. Other requirements would be the same as those of a private kennel.

Neither type of kennel could raise pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, German shepherds, Alaskan malamutes, huskies, Doberman pinschers, chow chows, great Danes or Saint Bernards.

The proposed ordinance defines a commercial kennel as one that boards, breeds, cares for or otherwise handles dogs for sale or in return for compensation.

A commercial kennel license still would require a conditional use permit, as under the current law, meaning an appearance by the owner before both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.