Planning board closer to deciding on kennel

Site plan provided by New Scotland Building Inspector Jeremy Cramer

Lauren Bachner plans to refurbish the existing stables on a Unionville-Feura Bush parcel into a boarding kennel and dog day care. In this site plan, Bachner denotes where some fences will be, as well as that the access from the property to Atwood Lane — a private road — will be cut off.

NEW SCOTLAND — The woman who wants to move her kennel and dog day care to New Scotland heard more from neighbors opposing the plan as she answered questions from the planning board on Tuesday. She will be before the board again in September after rounding out her application.

Tuesday evening, in front of about 20 members of the community, Lauren Bachner, along with her lawyer, friends, coworkers, and clients, came before the board with water quality and flow tests, a more detailed site plan, and other information the board previously requested.

She didn’t have the information gathered in time for the board’s July meeting, which was subsequently cancelled.

Bachner currently runs a kennel and dog day care in Glenmont, and is hoping to relocate her business to New Scotland, on a parcel on Unionville-Feura Bush Road.

Since the public hearing for her application opened in May, many neighbors have come forward with concerns about noise, smells, water pollution, and increased traffic that they believe would come from the kennel.

The neighbors’ sentiment is that the “character of the neighborhood” hangs precariously in the balance with the approval or denial of the kennel.

Despite detailed soundproofing specifications being provided at the June meeting — which were read aloud by planning board Chairman Charles Voss at Tuesday’s meeting — the neighbors continued to question the effectiveness of the proposed soundproofing, and emphasized that nothing could be done to quiet the dogs when they were outside in the runs.

Bachner emphasized that dogs are only taken outside three at a time, and are kept on leashes at all times except when they are in their individual runs and inside their individual kennels. Also, privacy fences are installed so the dogs cannot see each other when they are in the runs, further decreasing the possibility they will bark.

On the site plan, Bachner showed where the property has densely and sparsely wooded areas in an effort to show that the natural vegetation of the area will also serve as a sound barrier when the dogs are outside if there does happen to be any barking.

At Bachner’s existing kennel location, nobody stays overnight with the dogs on the property. Some members of the board, and the public, were uneasy about this practice at the proposed kennel in New Scotland, even though Bachner plans to install a security system that is hooked into the sheriff’s office, so if any break-in or fire were to occur, the authorities would be contacted and so would she.

“My long-range plans are to build a house on the property and move there,” Bachner continued.

At least four neighbors again spoke against the kennel; all four had spoken multiple times at previous meetings.

Katy Irani, who owns land adjacent to the proposed kennel location, as well as the private road that borders the property, is most concerned about the monetary effects of the kennel.

“Economically, there will be hardships on us because our property will be devalued… It just seems like a wrong location,” she said.

Speaking about the dogs in the kennel, she said, “These are like babies staying there in little boxes, and, when they are taken out, they will be very excited,” and bark.

In addition to the neighbors themselves, their representative Stephanie Ferradino spoke on their behalf with a list of problems she saw with the application. She emphasized that the application is incomplete in regard to the information required to be included on the site plan according to town law, and cannot be acted on as such.

“I haven’t seen anything we can meaningfully comment on,” she said.

Additionally, she said the employee hours of operation should be limited to reduce the impact on the neighbors. She also said the water on the property, as well as the neighbors’ property, needs to be tested regularly for any pollution from the dog waste.

The hours of operation are very limited as Bachner currently has set out in her plan. People can drop off their dogs only from 7:30 to 10 a.m. and pick them up only from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday; Saturday hours are 7:30 a.m. to noon, and dogs can be dropped off Sunday between 8 and 9 a.m.  Dog day care is only Monday through Friday, with drop-off and pickup hours the same as for boarding.

The question of water quality was addressed by Bachner in her plan to have the floors of the kennels epoxy sealed so nothing seeps into the concrete and into the groundwater from there. The kennel floors will be cleaned with a mop and special disinfectant used in kennels and animal hospitals. When the dogs are outside, they will go in the grass.

A couple of board members poked holes in the neighbors’ concerns about water quality, noting that the previous owner had horses and dogs on the property for many years.

“Does any neighbor have a problem with their water?” asked board member Kurt Anderson.

“I’m not sure where that claim has any validity,” he continued, regarding the assertions that water quality would be affected by the dogs’ waste at the kennel.

Two people in attendance spoke in favor of Bachner’s kennel, and a third, who could not attend the meeting, submitted a letter.

Lawrence McMullen from Loudonville, who boards his dog with Bachner, asked, “Do any of these neighbors have animals? Are they picking up the waste from their animals?”

He added that perhaps the neighbors’ animals would be encroaching on Bachner’s business, rather than her business encroaching on their properties.

Also, Robert LaCosta, whose wife works at Bachner’s kennel, said that he has been in the hearing-aid business for 25 years, and the specifications listed for the proposed soundproofing are more than adequate to keep any sounds inside the kennel unheard by the neighbors.

As the comments wound down, Chairman Voss asked Bachner for a more detailed site plan that includes locations of all lights, fences, and other required specifics, to show the board in September.

“We don’t want an applicant to go out and spend a million dollars on an application,” he said, but, “we’ve learned over the years” to require as detailed a plan as possible, so it can be enforced.

Regarding whether he thought the kennel fit with the neighborhood, “It might be considered a square peg in a round hole over there,” he said.

Before the meeting ended, concerned neighbor Don Haskell asked the board who will check in on the business if it gets approved and make sure it is complying with all regulations and conditions “when the six-foot fences are up and nobody can see nothing?”

The board closed the public hearing, but is still allowing members of the public to submit comments in writing as more information on the application becomes available.



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