Some public push back has led the city of Fayetteville to take some of the teeth out of a proposed change to rules regarding dog kennels.
For more than a year, residents near Courtney's Canine Care on Industrial Way in Fayetteville have been complaining to the city about noise from the facility that houses up to 60 dogs.
Dave Williams, owner of a nearby packaging business, spoke to council about the issue in June, saying the incessant barking day and night were a serious nuisance for him as well as other residents he'd spoken to. Autumn Glen, an elderly community, is very nearby and has been the source of many of the complaints.
"One lady [who lived nearby] I asked her if she hears the dog and she said ‘if I'm out on the porch I do but if I'm inside I don't so I just don't go out on the porch anymore,’" Williams said in June.
At the time Director of Community Development Brian Wismer said the city had gone through the process of citing the owner Lisa Fleming more than once for violations to the city's noise ordinances. The citation process, however, had not been effective in changing the situation.
With those circumstances in mind, city staff drew up a revised ordinance which would make dog kennels and animal shelters a "special exception" use in the light manufacturing district (M-1) zone that Courtney's Canine Care occupies. With this provision, any future designs for a similar business would have to come before the planning and zoning committee and then city council prior to approval.
Also included in that revised ordinance were a range of requirements to be placed on such businesses. The proposed ordinance included the following provisions: no more than 16 animals were to be on premises, and no more than four were to be outside at any time. A 6-foot opaque fence was to be constructed around the outdoor exercise areas. Employees were to be required on premises any time animals were outdoors. In the instance that noise continued to be a nuisance, the owner was to be required to install noise insulating materials or in some way abate the noise problem.
These proposed requirements drew the greatest resistance from Fleming's attorney as well as a number of her supporters who spoke before council about the need for her service. The changes, they argued, could be prohibitively expensive for a small business that had been set up in M1 when kennels and animal shelters were allowed by right.
Councilman Mickey Edwards made a similar point at the prior council meeting, saying it was unfair to have given Fleming a business license and then impose costly requirements on her after the fact, especially given she was only half way through a three year lease for the property.
"If she got her business license with the sole requirement that she be in M1, that seems like it would be the city's problem and not her problem. Common sense would tell you dogs would bark," Edwards said. Councilman Ed Johnson shared the concern that the new rules could lead to costly modifications that would be unfair to impose on a small business owner.
The resistance was effective, as the new version of the proposed ordinance has stricken all of the language that would impose any restrictions on Fleming or require her to make any changes to her property. The only remaining change is to make kennels and animal shelters a "special use" in M1 zoning going forward.