The Transylvania Times -

By Derek McKissock
News Editor" 

Council Backs ‘Kennel' Change To City Codes


March 11, 2011

By a 3-2 vote Monday, Brevard City Council approved allowing kennels, with a special-use permit, within neighborhood mixed use (NMX) zoning districts.

A kennel applicant would still have to go before the city's Board of Adjustment for the special-use permit and there would be no guarantee of approval.

Councilmen Rodney Locks, Mack McKeller and Mac Morrow backed the change to the city's ordinances after hearing the extra conditions that would be placed on kennel owners.

Animals, for example, would only be allowed in outside exercise areas between sunrise and sunset. The kennels would also need to be soundproof and would face yearly inspections, among other restrictions.

McKeller backed the conditions but suggested they were overly restrictive and "bad for business." He questioned whether a kennel would be anymore "disruptive" than a bank, drive-through restaurant or car-repair business, which are allowed in NMX district but don't face the same level of restrictions.

"I'd defy anyone (to show) how a fast food drive-through is less disruptive than a kennel," McKeller said.

Councilman Larry Canady, who along with Councilwoman Dee Dee Perkins voted against allowing the kennels, disagreed with McKeller's assumption.

Canady said he has lived beside a kennel while McKeller has not. In a previous comment, Canady described the noise as deafening when the animals were let outside.

Perkins didn't believe kennels were a "suitable" kind of business for a neighborhood district and that sound problems will be an issue.

Mayor Jimmy Harris, who doesn't have a vote unless the council is tied, spoke out against the ordinance change. He believes it will be a "very difficult burden" for an applicant to meet all the conditions, particularly the expense of sound proofing.

Locks, while supporting the changes, said it would be "virtually impossible to set up a kennel within the city of Brevard."

Kennels, according to the city codes, must be at least 200 feet from any dwelling, other than the owner's, and at least 50 feet from adjoining property lines.

The kennel must also be located to the building's side or rear. As well as not violating the city's noise ordinance, the kennels will have to meet strict state requirements and health and safety guidelines, as well.

Since the council voted 3-2, a second vote is required, where a simple majority will be sufficient.

Public Hearing

Prior to the vote, a public hearing on the kennel proposal was held. City Planning Director Josh Freeman said the Planning and Zoning Board voted 5-1 for approval. The lone dissenting board member believed kennels were not appropriate for NMX districts.

Commercial properties in NMX districts are "typically" small in scale, Freeman said. Examples of NMX districts include where Poppies is located on the Asheville Highway and the area around Railroad Avenue and King and Whitmire streets.

One resident Berta Lefkovich spoke in favor of allowing kennels, noting the inconvenience of not having any in the city.

Resident Pete Peters questioned placing kennels in residential areas and how the requirements could be met if someone builds on an empty lot beside property that has a kennel.

Resident Diana Zerby said that "with all the dog problems in the city," kennels were the "last thing we need.

In other action during Monday's meeting, council:

• accepted the presentation by the music/arts and outdoor recreation task forces that was given during the council's recent retreat. City staff will now evaluate the presentation's findings and bring recommendations back to council. During the meeting, members of the task forces were also recognized for their efforts.

• approved amending the city's zoning map to establish the Gardens at Village Planned Development District.

Western Carolina Community Action (WCCA) is planning to build a 41-unit affordable housing apartment complex on property east of the Head Start building on Hillview Street Extension.

The two- and three-story roughly 21,000-square-foot building will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments to those 55 years old and above. WCCA serves low-income residents in Transylvania, Henderson and Polk counties. WCCA owns roughly 22 acres where the apartment complex is located and has long-range plans for more development of the site.

There are no current plans for a through road on the property, something that concerned residents in the area.

• heard funding requests from representatives of several local non-profits, including Center for Dialogue, WCCA, Boys & Girls Club, Heart of Brevard and The Haven.

• heard an update from Police Chief Phil Harris on work done in response to complaints about the police department's firing range at the city Waste Water Treatment Plant on Wilson Road.

Police department staff have talked several times with residents in the area and have implemented, or are going to put in place, several measures, including limiting range use to the first week of each month and no use during December and limited use in January; completing nighttime range use as early as possible, reducing weekend use, putting sound remediation measures in place, limiting automatic weapon use, publishing a calendar of range use in advance and testing noise levels on all properties that request it.

• asked staff to evaluate the city spending $7,500 toward the sesquicentennial celebration on Sept. 3, when daylong activities are planned, including musical performances and a fireworks show on the Brevard College campus.

Perkins, a member of the sesquicentennial committee, said the goal is for the city to be one of the main sponsors.

She said the city needs to shows its "commitment." McKeller said the city's commitment could mean some of the nonprofit's funding requests not being approved.

• accepted information from city staff that was to be used in a scheduled appeal hearing of a nuisance abatement order and a lien placed on property owned by West Main Development, LLC. Last November, a retaining wall on Probart Street collapsed after heavy rainfall.

The city closed the street and used a special provision — a nuisance abatement order — that allows the city to notify a property owner that it wants to repair problems that are a nuisance or public safety hazard.

City staff said West Main Development backed the city coming on to the property.

To ensure the city receives payment for any costs it incurs while making the repairs, the city files a lien against the property.

The city will file a lien for roughly $43,500 against West Main Development.

West Main Development wanted to appeal the city's actions and a special hearing was scheduled to be heard Monday. No one from West Main Development, however, showed up at the hearing.


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