The Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission on April 11 plans to reconsider a proposal to build a Pet Paradise pet grooming and boarding facility in Trace Crossings after calling the proposal “problematic” in March.
American Pet Resorts wants to build a 15,000-square-foot Pet Paradise facility that can board up to 175 dogs on a 2-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Stadium Trace Parkway and Brock’s Gap Parkway.
But when the request came to the city’s zoning board March 14, several zoning commissioners said they have a problem with a facility that wants to allow up to 75 dogs outside at a time that is near residents.
Numerous residents of the Chestnut Ridge community spoke against putting the boarding facility at that location. The facility also is near the Park Trace community, and a new residential community under construction called Knox Square will have a homesite roughly 400 feet away from the proposed boarding facility, City Planner Mac Martin said.
Chestnut Ridge resident Bill McCanna said the dog barking also would be a nuisance to people who walk in the community and to people in outdoor dining areas across the street at The Village at Brock’s Gap.
Councilman Mike Shaw, who also sits on the zoning board, noted the city already has approved two pet boarding facilities in the past several years but under different circumstances.
When the City Council approved a PetSuites Resort off John Hawkins Parkway near Lake Crest in February 2019, no dogs were allowed to be outside at all.
And when the council approved a Pet Paradise facility in Tattersall Park off U.S. 280 near Greystone in June of last year, the nearest home was more than 800 feet away with a 102-foot elevation change and wooded area in between.
In this case, “this is right in the middle of houses,” Shaw said.
American Pet Resorts is a great company with a great reputation, but “it always comes down to noise,” Shaw said. “I just don’t think this design makes sense without a lot of modifications to reflect the concerns about sound.”
Zoning board member Becky Walker had similar concerns.
“Ultimately, it comes down to the question of how many dogs are too many and how far is far enough from a residence,” Walker said. “I think it’s a marvelous facility, but is this the right location? … It’s problematic for me.”
City Administrator Allan Rice, another member of the zoning board, asked a representative for American Pet Resorts whether his company has any design concepts for completely indoor facilities or whether his company would be willing to consider something like that, just as PetSuites Resort did.
James Inman, the real estate acquisition manager for American Pet Resorts, said the indoor/outdoor concept is what his company is building all across the Southeast and Southwest.
“This is what our customers want for their pets,” Inman said. “They want their dogs to be able to engage with others and play out in the sun.”
The company can limit the number of dogs outside at one time to 75 and limit the hours that dogs are allowed outside, Inman said.
“But in terms of putting a big shell over the top, that’s not something that we’re going to do here,” he said. “It’s not what our customers want. It’s not what makes Pet Paradise Pet Paradise.”
However, Charlie Waldrep, a Birmingham area attorney representing American Pet Resorts, after seeing the opposition from zoning board members and consulting further with Inman, said the company would be willing to go back to the drawing board and consider modifications to the proposal that might make it more acceptable.
That’s what prompted the zoning board to continue the case until April 11.