Many bought homes in Wethersfield Commons on Jefferson Boulevard because they were allowed to have a dog. But now that as many as 150 dogs may be housed at the very entrance to the 493-unit complex, …
Many bought homes in Wethersfield Commons on Jefferson Boulevard because they were allowed to have a dog. But now that as many as 150 dogs may be housed at the very entrance to the 493-unit complex, they’re barking mad.
An estimated 150 residents turned out last week to a Wethersfield clubhouse meeting to berate Carlos Gutierrez’s plans to build a pet lodge similar to the one in Miami – Somi Pet Resort and Dog Day Care – on Jefferson Boulevard. Residents are prepared to turn out in force Dec. 14 when the Planning Board conducts a public informational meeting at 6 p.m. in the community room of city offices in the Sawtooth Building in Apponaug said Joan Riley, who with three other Wethersfield property owners visited the Beacon Monday morning.
Their concerns focused on the noise of barking dogs, increased traffic, cut through traffic to Metro Center, impact on property values and the loss of a highly vegetated entrance that augments the complex’s country feel.
Yet the nine acres making up the site – most of it is a pond – is zoned General Industrial in keeping with the city’s long range vision of Jefferson Boulevard as the city’s commercial and manufacturing backbone. The zone allows for a wide variety of uses from a fish processing plant to equipment storage yard, taxi operation, oil and fuel service operations and auto body shop among other things. The proposed pet lodge and veterinary hospital is an allowable use under the zone and would not require a zone change or exemption.
When asked about the proposal, City Planner Tom Kravitz termed the pet lodge one of the least intensive uses permissible under the zoning.
According to the narrative filed by the developer with the Planning Board, the lodge and veterinary hospital is similar to facilities constructed by the applicant outside Rhode Island. The lodge would include an administration and services building which is the reception area for dogs and owners, and offices for employees. In back of this building would be dog kennels that have individual suites with indoor and outdoor access. All suites would be fenced and the entire kennel area would have privacy walls on the sides. For recreation, the dogs would have an indoor parks building for use during inclement weather and outdoor space on nice days.
In a telephone interview Les Rich, president of the Wethersfield Commons Condominium Association, questioned the impact of the proposed development on the environment and its wildlife, noting its proximity to the pond, noise, traffic and impact from cut through traffic. High on his list is the proposed access from Williamsburg Drive, the private road to the condo complex. A section of the drive is actually part of the parcel owned by Wellfleet Properties and the site of the pet lodge. Under a deeded right of way, Wethersfield is responsible for maintaining the road. Routing pet lodge traffic through Williamsburg would introduce non resident traffic into the condo complex.
“A curb cut on Jefferson Boulevard would make sense,” said Rich.
Access from Jefferson Boulevard, however, would require state Department of Transportation approval. That is being explored and reportedly Crossman Engineers that designed the lodge plan are reconfiguring the proposed access.
Rich sees no threat that the right of way could be revoked or that in some way access to Wethersfield Commons could be interrupted. “It is a deeded right of way forever,” he said. He thought an office on the site would be much more in keeping with the “innovation technology area” envisioned in the city’s comprehensive plan.
Planning officials said the project would require review and permitting by the Department of Environmental Management. Among requirements is the RIDEM Stormwater Construction and Water Quality Certification.
As part of the proposal submission, Brooks Acoustics Corporation (BAC) conducted an acoustical study and design evaluation to evaluate the potential sound emissions from the proposed facility. According to documents filed with the planning department, “a sound management program was developed to promote a calm quiet environment at the facility. This program will minimize the impact from dog barking on the surrounding neighborhood. Importantly, this evaluation has determined that the proposed facility as designed for this site will be in compliance with the requirements of the City of Warwick Noise Ordinance, Section 40-13.”
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The follow-up of last nights meeting in the saw tooth building should have been printed. The City of Warwick Planning Board continued its consideration of the pet lodge/kennel and veterinary clinic until January 11 when it will hear new testimony at 6:00pm in the Warwick Vets auditorium. Please cover this story.
Thursday, December 15, 2022 Report this