Council approves ordinance change for Camp Bow Wow

Council approves ordinance change for Camp Bow Wow

SMITHFIELD – Developers of a proposed dog daycare, Camp Bow Wow, will look for special use permit approval from the Zoning Board after the Town Council on Tuesday approved an amendment change allowing animal daycares in planned corporate zoning.

Representing the developer, attorney Timothy Kane said the daycare, to be located at 37 Thurber Blvd., will suit the town’s comprehensive plan needs as an accessory unit to business development in the economic growth overlay district along the Routes 7 and 117 corridor.

The council agreed despite concerns on noise from dog barking.

The council postponed a vote during the May 21 meeting to allow residents and council members to ask additional questions and visit the site.

Camp Bow Wow will continue to the Zoning Board to get special use permits for the zone change and to reduce the number of parking spaces for the 13,000-square-foot building from 38 to 20.

In a recap, Kane said the daycare matches the character of the light industrial park, and will not interrupt plan to create a planned corporate business district. Kane said the $2 million investment in the community is a good use for the 7.14-acre parcel.

“We think this is a good use of the property. We think it will complement the town in a positive way,” Kane said.

My Lucky Dog daycare owner David Punchak said he does not believe the claim that an accessory use is valid, or that nearby neighbors as close as 300 feet will not hear barking. He said he has several buildings between his business and homes and people still can hear dog barking reverberating through the neighborhood.

He said the area has a few nearby businesses, and it is not necessary to build accessory units yet.

“I think you’re putting the cart before the horse here,” Punchak said.

Camp Bow Wow will be the third dog daycare in Smithfield.

Owner Paul Butler put the council’s concerns to rest, saying his facility will be equipped with 200 panels to absorb sound inside the building, as well as solid fencing for the 2,000-square-foot outdoor area to create a sound buffer.

He said Camp Bow Wow’s corporate policy is to have a ratio of one “camp counselor” to 25 dogs. He said it is the counselors’ jobs to stop the dogs from barking, and to keep them playing.

“A barking dog means something is going on in the yard and the dog isn’t happy. Their job is to keep the dog happy,” Butler said.

Employees are trained to keep noise to a minimum. In addition, the dogs will spend most of the time indoors, Butler said. He expects approximately 150 dogs at this franchise location.

Butler said the hours of operation in Smithfield will most likely be similar to his Warwick location, which is Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and split Sundays from 8 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.