ST. CHARLES – In reaction to concerns about noise and other issues, the majority of aldermen on the St. Charles City Council's Planning and Development Committee on Monday rejected plans for a doggy daycare facility proposed near the city's downtown.
John Karatheodore submitted an application requesting special use approval to establish the K-9 Country Club of St. Charles in a building at 305 N. 2nd St. The business would provide such services as daycare, grooming, training, dog walking, along with selling pet products.
The majority of aldermen on the committee voted against allowing pet care facilities in the city's central business district. They also voted against his application for a special use to accommodate his facility.
First Ward Alderman Dan Stellato was the only alderman to support the zoning change and the proposal. The full City Council will now discuss the issue.
In a 7-2 vote, plan commissioners had previously recommended approval of allowing pet care facilities in the city's central business district on the condition they would be prohibited from locating in the downtown overlay of the district.
The downtown overlay covers the core downtown shopping areas along Main Street, First Street and Century Corners. Plan commissioners also voted 7-2 to approve the special use application, subject to requiring the dogs be kept inside between the hours of 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Karatheodore told aldermen sound barriers would be in place at the facility to minimize any noise.
"You will barely hear any barking," he said.
He said having the facility near the city's downtown would provide a much needed convenience to dog owners. Karatheodore noted that customers would not even have to get out of their cars to drop off their dogs at the facility.
"Pull up, we'll come out, grab your dog for you and watch him for an hour or two while you run your errands in the city," Karatheodore said. "We're providing that full service for you. I think we're going to set the bar with this business and really separate ourselves from any of our competition."
Several neighboring property owners submitted letters and petitions to the city stating their objections to the proposal. A petition signed by tenants in the Charleston Center shopping center at 311 N. 2nd St. states that the proposal "would create a nuisance of barking dogs and the smell of dog droppings which are not compatible or conducive with their businesses."
One of the tenants in the shopping center is the St. Charles Veterans Center.
"Our Veterans Center enjoys an atmosphere of peace and quiet," said Vanessa Bell-Lasota, community liaison for the St. Charles Veterans Center, in addressing aldermen. "Many of us are disabled and the average age of the veterans is in the mid-70s. Many walk with assistive devices and many of us suffer from post traumatic stress and related conditions."
Following the committee's decision, Karatheodore asked aldermen why they were against the proposal. Third Ward Alderman Todd Bancroft said he didn't work hard enough to appease those who had concerns about the proposal.
"When I'm asking for something, it's up to me to go to my neighbors and make them happy," he said. "You didn't."