Zoning officials scrutinize dog day-care proposal
Published 6:23 am, Wednesday, May 13, 2015
An application for a dog day-care business has not prompted neighbors to bark in opposition.
Cheryl Paul wants to open the day-time center in a former deli at 154 Kings Highway Cutoff and her application, which includes a zoning amendment, was the topic of a public hearing Tuesday before the Town Plan and Zoning Commission. The hearing was completed, but no decision was made.
Frank Johnson, Paul's lawyer, said the request for a zoning amendment is needed because dog day-care businesses are not a permitted use anywhere in town.
Under the proposal, clients would drop their pets off in the morning, and pick them up in the afternoon, he said, adding no dogs would stay overnight. "Dog day care is a safe, supervised activity for dogs during the day," Johnson said. "It gives pet owners an alternative to leaving their dogs at home all day, alone."
Such businesses can be found in Bridgeport and Westport, he said. The location in Fairfield, Johnson said, is in a commercial zone with no residences nearby.
While several residents came forward to express support for Paul's application, commissioners did express concerns about the noise that the business might generate.
"I love dogs," TPZ member Patricia Jacobson said. "I think there's a tremendous need for this in Fairfield." However, she added, the zoning amendment would allow dog day-care centers throughout town, perhaps in areas that are more residential. "Dogs bark, they make noise," she said. "That's my concern."
Paul said she has worked in the animal behavior field for nearly 30 years. "I can assure you that dogs bark, however, tired dogs and active dogs do not."
"This is more than just your location," Vice Chairman Gerry Alessi said of the precedent posed by the application. "It's changing our zoning regulations."