Camp Bow Wow seeks approval from Town Council

Camp Bow Wow seeks approval from Town Council

SMITHFIELD – As the town continues to seek business development in the economic growth overlay district along the Routes 7 and 116 corridor, accessory businesses such as Camp Bow Wow, a doggie daycare business, will need special approval from the Town Council.

Camp Bow Wow owner Paul Butler is seeking a text amendment to the district ordinance to allow animal daycare facilities by special use permit. Butler owns the West Warwick location of the national dog-sitting chain.

A public hearing on the amendment will be held on May 21 at 7 p.m. during the regular Town Council meeting at Town Hall, 64 Farnum Pike.

The dog daycare will be the third in town, and Town Planner Michael Phillips said just as a child daycare will support the district’s growth, so will a facility for dogs.

Phillips recommended at an April 18 meeting that the Planning Board allow Camp Bow Wow at 37 Thurber Blvd.

The Planning Board approved master plan approval and gave a positive recommendation to the Town Council after discussion of whether it fits the needs of the district.

Planning Board member Michael Moan said the doggie daycare is not compatible with the zone’s planned uses and said he felt Camp Bow Wow should continue looking for other locations.

“I have concerns about going forward and establishing a precedent,” Moan said.

The 13,000-square-foot building with a proposed 2,000-square-foot enclosure would be located in a planned corporate zone inside the economic growth overlay district.

According to a town ordinance, a dog daycare cannot be within 300 feet of residential areas. Attorney William Bernstein, representing Camp Bow Wow, said the building will be 750 feet from the nearest abutter, which he said was one of the primary reasons the Thurber Boulevard location was chosen.

“We spent a lot of time and resources looking for an appropriate place to put these,” Bernstein said.

“We allow daycares for kids. This is an appointment center where people come and drop off kids and go to work. It’s the same way with pets. Pets are now a lot of people’s children,” Phillips said.

He added, “I see this as an asset to the growth of the overlay that we’re trying to build. I believe it would be compatible with the growth of the district.”

With its recommendation, the Planning Board reduced the number of proposed parking spaces from 30 to 20, despite the requirement of 43 for the building. Joe Casali, professional engineer, presenting for Camp Bow Wow, said most customers will park for a few minutes for drop-off or pick-up during regular hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Casali said reducing parking will decrease the amount of paved area on site, and if in the future the building changes ownership, the Planning Board may require additional spaces to be added.

According to the September 2015 economic growth overlay ordinance, the zone was created to develop a 730-acre growth center, containing 87 lots, to revitalize planned corporate zoned land by opening growth for a variety of compatible land uses.

Acceptable uses include residential homes, nursing and life-care facilities with fewer than 120 beds, medical and dental buildings, health management organizations, urgent health clinics, hotels with 100 rooms or fewer, conferences centers, dry-cleaning businesses, personal service establishments, communication antennas, child care centers, theaters, health and fitness centers and office buildings.

Larger buildings are acceptable for larger hotels, hospitals, office and restaurant space in the zone by special use permit.