Seeking permit Reed wants to keep on breeding and selling dogs

Seeking permit
Reed wants to keep on breeding and selling dogs

GUILDERLAND — A woman who raises dogs for both love and money says she hadn’t known she was in violation of town codes.

A special-use permit to breed and house Great Danes at a private residence was tabled by the zoning board last Wednesday night after legal questions arose during the meeting.

Rabecca Reed’s application to run a kennel at her 200 Foster Ln. home in Guilderland Center will return to the zoning board on Sept. 5.
The zoning board’s chairman, Peter Barber, said he wanted to clear up "some legal issues" with the board’s attorney, Janet Thayer, before moving forward on the application.
Because Reed wants to breed dogs to sell and give away as well as keep her own Great Danes as pets on the same property, the chief building inspector and zoning administrator, Donald Cropsey, said, "This is a new category" because it combines "both worlds."

Barber told The Enterprise this week that it has to be determined whether or not Reed will need an area variance or a use variance to begin breeding dogs on her property. Barber said that the use variance requires a much higher standard; an applicant must show financial hardship if it isn’t granted and that the land isn’t suitable for other uses.

Barber indicated that if the board decides a use variance is required, it is doubtful Reed will get one. Barber also said the types of runs that Reed installs for her kennel may become an issue in the application process.

Area variances are much more common and mainly deal with specific dimensions, Barber said.

Reed said that she has the land and the love to start breeding Great Danes.
"Basically I have a love of Great Danes that I share with my children," Reed told the board Wednesday night.
That love began many years ago, she said, when the family’s long-time pet was a Great Dane and it suddenly became ill, leaving the family with no other choice but euthanasia. Reed said it was "very painful for the family," and that they got another female Great Dane and began having litters of dogs.

Reed currently has nine dogs living on her property, a number that at least one zoning board member appeared uncomfortable with. Reed said she had not known a permit is required for having more than three dogs because her home is zoned for agriculture.

Reed’s violation was discovered when town officials were at her home, looking at a car left on the property by her son, which a neighbor had reported as a violation.

Two neighbors wrote letters to the zoning board opposing Reed’s application for the dogs and Sue Green, a Guilderhaven member and former animal control officer, also opposed Reed’s application.

When told of Green’s letter, Reed denied knowing Green. However, Green told The Enterprise she met Reed "years ago" when Green was an animal control officer for the town.
Green said that one of Reed’s dogs attacked a dog she was walking, and doesn’t believe that the town should grant Reed’s application, after what she calls "years of being in violation of the town code."

Cropsey told The Enterprise last week that some neighbors have complained that Reed’s dogs get loose and cause disturbances around the neighborhood. Reed’s house is near busy Route 146, the town’s animal shelter, the town’s dog park, the town’s garage, and two neighbors’ houses.
Reed said at the meeting that her dogs have gotten out only "a couple times" and that she doesn’t let her dogs run wild, especially, she added, with such a busy road nearby.
"The definition of a kennel says it may not be operated within a residence," Barber told Reed about her plans to breed and shelter dogs commercially on her property as well as keep some of the Great Danes as pets. Therefore, a special-use permit and a variance are needed.

Barber asked Thayer whether Reed’s application should technically be for a special-use permit or for an area variance.
"When you peel back the onion, I really think it’s a use issue," Thayer responded and added that she would investigate the matter.
Barber then asked Reed, "Are you going to be at least 300 feet from a residence" That’s the question."
Reed said that, with her seven-acre property, there was "more than enough" land if she had to move the proposed location of the dog runs.

Reed said she typically gets between four and seven puppies per litter.
"I don’t breed a female more than once in two years; I don’t think it’s best for the dog," Reed said. "We’re not talking about a booming business here."

Other business

In other business, the zoning board unanimously:

— Approved an area variance for Melinda Waldron of 2 Country Rd. for the installation of a six-foot privacy fence on her property. Waldron told the board that she was concerned for the safety of her children being so close to both Schoolhouse Road and the New York State Thruway;
— Approved a 17-foot area variance for Alan Gordon of 2014 Dobie Ln. for the construction of a combined pool house and storage shed on his corner lot property. Gorden told the board that he is installing an in-ground pool and that "There is no other location to put it."

Zoning board member James Sumner asked that there be no exterior access to the pool house and pool, allowing access only through Gorden’s home; and

— Approved the addition of a free standing 11.2-square-foot sign for Adirondack Tire Center at 1610 Western Ave. The sign will bring the total amount of signage for the company to a total of 50-square-feet which is the maximum allotted by town code.

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