John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Newtown Gate Residents Versus Doggy Dayz K9 Resort

Newtown Gate Residents Versus Doggy Dayz K9 Resort

UPDATE (29 Mar 2021): Doggy Dayz will be withdrawing their application to the ZHB.

“We Love Dogs,” Says Newtown Gate Board President, But Not 120 of Them Less Than 600 Feet From Us!

Here we go again! Residents again have organized to oppose a dog kennel in Newtown. Recall that in 2018 residents opposed giving zoning variances to the Sit.Stay kennel claiming that the kennel, and noise from its dogs, would “alter the essential character of the neighborhood.” The residents lost that case. [Read "When It Comes to Zoning Variances for the Sit. Stay. Kennel, Some Residents Will Not Let Sleeping Dogs Lie".]

This time, Newtown Gate residents have organized a campaign opposing the application of Doggy Dayz to set up an indoor “K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel” at 8 Pheasant Run (at the intersection with Terry Drive) in the LI (Light Industrial) district of Newtown Township (see aerial view above).

The application came up for review for a second time last night (February 16, 2021) before the Newtown Planning Commission (PC). This time, Mr. Fred Kurtz, president of the Newtown Gate Homeowners Association and several residents attended the meeting. The residents – including the Master Board of Newtown Gate – sent letters opposing the application to all PC members as well as to all Newtown Supervisors and members of the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB)..

“We have many concerns regarding the continuous seven day a week operation of a dog kennel with outdoor dog runs located less than 600 feet with direct line of site from our community's boundaries,” said Mr. Kurtz in the Master Board letter [link]. Two major concerns are summarized below.

Too Little Space

“This application requests that up to 120 dogs be permitted which would require 25 acres to house the number of dogs that are intended. The applicant in their presentation argued that those requirements were because traditionally kennels were outside of city boundaries in rural areas. There is a reason for that- nobody wants 120 dogs barking in their backyard! Having an appropriate amount of space maintains the peace by creating adequate separation from neighbors.”

Mr. Kurtz noted that “the applicant quotes the parcel size of 3.2 acres which materially misrepresents the space allowed for the dogs. They are including space which belong to other businesses, including parking areas and outdoor spaces dedicated to those other businesses.”

Too Much Noise

The main complaint, however, is the noise of barking dogs when they are let outside to play and exercise. The play area is only 551 feet from the Newtown Gate boundary (see aerial image).

“Dogs bark at levels reaching 110 decibels, and multiple dogs barking during regular ‘play time’ would result in a sustained daily violation of Newtown Township sound ordinances,” claimed Mr. Kurtz. § 2-201 - Unlawful to Disturb the Peace. (Ord. 89-0-220, 9/7/1989, § 1) was cited:

“No person shall allow any dog or other domestic animal owned by him or under his control, or any nondomesticated animal confined on that person's premises, to make any loud or harsh noise or disturbance, by barking or otherwise, which shall interfere with or deprive the peace, quiet, rest, comfort, repose, health or sleep of any person within the Township. The Township declares that permitting such behavior by any animal shall constitute a nuisance.”

It should be noted, however, that Township supervisors opted to cut several sections from local code governing “excessive and unnecessary” noise, including from animals or birds making continuous noise longer than 15 minutes if it is deemed to have “annoyed” people. Officials described the section as “subjective” and difficult to enforce, in that dogs often would stop barking between the time they got a call and arrived on the scene.

“Clearly,” said Mr. Kurtz, “[the noise of barking dogs] would disturb the ‘peace, quiet, rest, [and] comfort’ of our residents, particularly those closest to the business, and therefore granting a variance to the applicant would be in violation of the basic rights of residents in our community.”

Not only that, the noise might be detrimental to the business of Baylinks Golf located next door to the proposed kennel site in the same building. “Not only were they wholly unaware of this proposed application,” claimed Mr. Kurtz, “but they were also very much not in favor of it.” Mr. Kurtz pointed out that “people are expected not to even talk when someone begins their backswing, a courtesy even strangers who play there extend to each other.”

Not in Our Back Yard!

Mr. Kurtz urged the applicant to find an alternate location, “perhaps on the other side of the office park where there are no residents close by. We support your desire to locate a business in the community, but not as proposed and certainly not at the expense of our residents.”

You can listen to all of Mr. Kurtz’s comments as well as the response form the Doggy Dayz lawyer in the following 9-minute audio clip excerpt from the Planning Commission meeting.

Mack's Newtown Voice · Newtown Gate Residents Oppose Doggy Dayz

In the end it was decided that representatives of Newtown Gate and Doggy Dayz would meet separately to see if they could hash out their differences before the application goes before the Board of Supervisors and the ZHB. The PC members indicated it would be a good idea for Doggy Dayz to do a study of the noise at one of their other locations to see if there is a problem. This would be at their expense just as was the case with the traffic study that was submitted.

Time To Redefine the LI Zone

This is NOT a new use – it’s an application for multiple variances to allow this specific use, which is not likely to be sought again by another applicant. The township cannot continue to willy-nilly grant variances to enable different very specific businesses to occupy space in the Newtown Commons/LI district area. What we need is to completely redefine the LI zone – which encompasses the Business Commons – to allow “by right” different businesses than are currently not allowed now – especially high-paying businesses with multiple employees. Industrial use simply is not going to cut it in this day and age.

There has been much discussion about how to do this by the Newtown Economic Development Committee (EDC). In fact, the EDC recently submitted some suggestions to the Board of Supervisors for rezoning the district to allow amenities such as the K9 Resort, restaurants, etc. Download the EDC memo for more details.

Posted on 17 Feb 2021, 14:57 - Category: Development

This site is paid for and approved by John Mack:
The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
Campaign Websites by Online Candidate