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Glenwood council supports dog kennel project

An architectural rendering of the Dog Holiday’s Pet Resort project
Bruce Barth | Red House Architects

Kennels have come a long way from the chain-link fences and unguarded outdoor dog runs of yesteryear to now resemble something more like a resort or pet spa.

At least that’s what Dr. Lori Pohm and her husband, Bob Thorsen, owners of All Dogs and Cats Veterinary Hospital in Glenwood Springs, have in mind with their latest venture, Dog Holliday’s Pet Resort, which will be located in the former Western Petroleum building. at 2517 S. Grand Ave.

Pohm and Thorsen won the backing of Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday night in an appeal by neighbors of the planned facility after the city’s planning and zoning commission approved the project in late April.

“The way this project came about was that we kept getting calls from people who wanted daycare for their dogs or somewhere to stay for them while they visited here,” Pohm explained during the interview. appeal hearing.

“We are at the maximum. Our community needs this facility, and I don’t think you’ll see the impacts you’re concerned about. »Laurie RaymondOwner of High Tails Cats and Dogs

“It’s not just for people in our own community, although there’s a real need… but it’s also for our visitors,” she said, noting that vacationers often travel with their dogs and their cats, but need a place for their pets. while they visit area attractions.

Residents of the South Grand/27th Street neighborhood, which numbers between 800 and 900 people considering the immediate area and residential areas across the Roaring Fork river on Midland Avenue, had opposed the plan.

Chief among their concerns is the potential for noise from dogs barking and other impacts, such as the smell of dog feces and urine. The owner of the nearby Rivers Restaurant had also objected to the kennel.

“The character of the neighborhood is clearly residential,” said attorney Charlie Willman, representing Sheryl and Ted Doll, who live across the river in the Cottonwood Landing subdivision.

Even though owners offer to have no more than eight dogs at a time with a staff ratio of one person to eight dogs, Willman said there’s no way to enforce that or control barking. dogs.

“Bottom line, dogs bark and sound travels very easily in that area,” he said.

Willman also asked if two conditions of approval imposed by the P&Z, one triggering a review of the use permit in the event of a noise complaint and the other requiring that the permit be automatically reviewed in the event of a change of ownership, are even allowed under the city code.

City Attorney Karl Hanlon countered that as long as the terms were agreed to by Pohm and Thorsen, they were binding.

Glenwood Springs architect Bruce Barth of Red House Architecture designs the kennel and grooming facility. He explained that modern kennels are more like pet spas, with supervised indoor and outdoor play activities and individual pet “suites” that look more like guest rooms. hotel only to cages.

Dog Holliday’s will be “high quality and well run,” he said on behalf of Pohm and Thorsen. Dogs will not be allowed out before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m., he said.

Pohm added that any dog ​​that seems out of control for any reason will be denied boarding.

“I’m also concerned about noise, as it could jeopardize the investment I’ve made in this business,” she said.

While several of the facility’s other neighbors have spoken out against the kennel, many supporters have also spoken out in favor of the project, including a competitor who said his facility is often full.

“We’re maxed out,” said Laurie Raymond, owner of High Tails Cats and Dogs in West Glenwood. “Our community needs this facility, and I don’t think you’re going to see the impacts that you’re worried about.”

The city council voted 5 to 1 to uphold P&Z’s decision in favor of the kennel.

Councilor Kathryn Trauger said she believes the use is compatible with the South Grand Commercial Area neighborhood and noted that other permitted uses may have a greater impact on nearby residents.

“With the mitigation, I would be very surprised if we had any complaints,” she said.

Other board members said there are appropriate safeguards in the terms of approval to review the permit if there are any issues.

“You have a remedy and a way to make sure the claimant does what they say they’re going to do so it doesn’t affect your way of life,” councilor Stephen Bershenyi said.

Councilman Steve Davis sided with the neighbors in voting to overturn the P&Z decision. Council member Leo McKinney had to recuse himself from hearing the case because he owns property near the planned site for the kennel.

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