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Sit, Stay Doggie Day Care Allowed to Stay Says Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board

Sit, Stay Doggie Day Care Allowed to Stay Says Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

Sit. Stay. has the township zoning hearing board’s approval to continue offering doggie day care and boarding services at the Roberts family farm in Newtown Township.

 

The dogs — and their watchers — have had their day before township zoners, and a Newtown Township kennel that came under scrutiny earlier this year can stay.

 

At its latest meeting, the township zoning hearing board voted 4-1 to issue doggie day care and boarding business Sit. Stay. two variances from local code, allowing it to continue operations as a permitted local business on the Roberts family farm off Washington Crossing Road.

 

Sit. Stay. opened its doors 15 years ago on a client-by-client basis and grew over time into a larger business servicing an average of 50 dogs each weekday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., owner Heather Roberts said.

 

Roberts said she learned earlier this year that Sit. Stay. was not grandfathered in under the property’s agricultural uses, but rather the 18.8-acre farm property was shy of a 25-acre minimum space requirement for kennels. A building used for sheltering dogs was also 95 feet short of a required 300-foot setback from offsite homes.

 

A few others neighbors opposed the variances, saying barking dogs on the property were a nuisance and could negatively impact resale value for their homes. Roberts said it was a noise complaint to the township’s zoning office that led her to learn Sit. Stay. would need zoning relief for the separate space and setback matters.

 

Resident Clara Bonavita, a neighbor who opposed the variances, said she could hear the barking “incessantly” starting this April.

 

Township supervisors opted this fall to cut several sections from local code governing “excessive and unnecessary” noise, including from animals or birds making continuous noise longer than 15 minutes if it is deemed to have “annoyed” people (Supervisor Mack voted "nay" - for more on that, read “Board of Supervisors Decimates Noise Ordinance”). Officials described the section as “subjective” and difficult to enforce, in that dogs often would stop barking between the time they got a call and arrived on the scene.

 

Though Roberts said no one has complained about barking dogs directly to her, she said, if neighbors have complaints in the future, “They know where I am, they know where to find me.”

 

Further Reading:

johnmacknewtown's insight:

At the upcoming "Reorganization Meeting," a few new members of the ZHB will be named by the Board of Supervisors. If you are interested in becoming a member, resumes will be accepted until
December 24, 2018. Please submit a letter of interest and resume to Olivia Kivenko, Newtown Township, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940, by email to
oliviak@newtownpa.gov, or by fax at (215) 968-5368. Members get paid a small stipend for each meeting.

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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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