The Bourne Planning Board has postponed the decision to approve a dog training school in downtown Buzzards Bay. The board members decided to continue the matter until a site visit could take place which would provide the members with additional information about the company and its location.
The matter was picked up by the Planning Commission during their Zoom meeting on May 27th. The store, To the Rescue Canine Training, would open in the building at 10 St. Margaret’s Street in Buzzards Bay. The building currently houses Bubbas Motorsport.
Assistant City Planner Jennifer Copeland told the board that the downtown business district usage table does not include dog training facilities. Ms. Copeland added that if the board were to approve the use of the building for the business, it would have to determine that the use “is not detrimental to other uses within the county or adjacent land uses”.
The committee’s finding must also indicate the permitted use in the city center to which the dog training facility would be most similar. Members noted that there is a dog groomer, Deb’s Dog House on Main Street, and Veterinary Cancer Specialists of New England on Cohasset Avenue.
The business owner, Kenneth Brady, appeared before the board of directors and stated that his specialty is dog training, and that includes a board-and-train system. Some dogs, Mr. Brady explained, could be housed in the building for one to four weeks for training. He added that the number of dogs in the building could range from one or two to 10 or 15.
The dogs would also be left alone in the building overnight, Mr. Brady said. An employee was in the store until 10 p.m. and then someone would arrive by 6 a.m., he said. Board member Sandra E. Goldstein asked if it would be traumatic for her to leave the dog alone for so long, and Mr. Brady assured her that it was not.
City planner Coreen V. Moore said the board’s goal that night was to determine the classification for the business and determine its appropriateness for the inner city district. The board’s decision, Ms. Moore said, would be that the business be akin to something that already exists in the downtown business district, or that it is not for the borough.
Member Elmer I. Clegg said he believed the deal would be the closest thing to a kennel, as in some cases dogs would be housed overnight. Ms. Moore noted that if the planning board viewed it as a kennel, it would be regulated by the Bourne Board of Health and it would also have to come back for approval before the planners.
Board members expressed concerns about the level of noise the shock waves would have to withstand. Member David O’Connor called the problem of nighttime noise “perhaps the salient point”. Mr O’Connor said that given the number of dogs, possibly 10 to 15, he agreed with Mr Clegg that the deal is the closest thing to a kennel.
Mr. Clegg argued that the store should be located in an industrial park rather than downtown. He noted that the site is very close to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church-on-the-Canal and suggested that the church “would be a property most sensitive to noise problems”.
Mr. Brady said the cages the dogs would be housed in had glass walls and steel fronts to isolate the barking. He added that the building is made of concrete blocks that would keep the dogs from making noise.
“You could chop off your head and no one will hear you unless you’re standing next to the building,” Brady said.
Mr Clegg went on to argue that dog training must be done outdoors and barking could be a nuisance to the neighbors. Mr Brady said there will be two training rooms inside the building, with some of the work being done outside. He assured the board that noise was rare during outdoor training because the dogs were taught not to bark.
“For a training facility, it’s all about control,” he said. “This is not a dog daycare we send them all to play.”
The board members hesitated that evening to make a decision. Mr. O’Connor volunteered to make a site visit, take some photos of the inside and outside of the building, and report to the board of directors. A motion has been made and unanimously approved to continue the matter until the board meeting on Thursday June 10th.
The board ended its meeting with a reorganization of the board. The only change was the election of Daniel L. Doucette as chairman. The vote on the appointment of Mr Doucette as chairman was unanimous. Most recently, he was CEO from 2016 to 2017.
Ms. Brown was re-elected as vice chairman of the board and Mr O’Connor was reelected as secretary of the board for another term.