Kennel Owners Ask City For Setback Variance To Open New Business

The owners of Howlin’ Hive are requesting a setback variance from the city to open their new kennel business. Pixabay image

The fate of a new business might hang in the balance tonight as the owners of a kennel try to convince Pitt Meadows council to waive a setback bylaw.

Charlotte McNair requested a variance permit to reduce the required setback for a kennel from 30 metres to six metres to facilitate Howlin’ Hive, the first business venture for McNair and Damian Hopley. 

McNair and Hopley rented a barn on a 38-acre property at 18389 Ford Road in January following a “lengthy search,” according to a letter McNair wrote to council. They have already renovated it to fit the needs of their business, McNair stated.

On Feb. 1, they corresponded with the city and received an email with a link to the city’s kennel regulation bylaw. They thought they had all their bases covered, according to McNair. It wasn’t until nearly two-and-a-half months later that they noticed the setback requirements. 

By then, they’d already “put all of our savings and a substantial amount of labour into developing our business at that location,” McNair wrote. 

She called the variance application an “unexpected” hurdle.

In A-1 (general agricultural), which the property is zoned for, the kennel building must be at least 30 metres away from property lines, ditches and waterways.

According to a staff report, the barn was built before the city’s records, which go back to 1973, and was recently used to house livestock. When it was built, there was a 60 metre setback to the western property line. However, the property was subdivided in 2002 and a two-acre portion to the west now houses Meadow Valley Meats, a commercial meat processing plant.

The barn is on Agricultural Land Reserve land, which does allow pet boarding and breeding. However, the land use can be regulated by local government.

If council does not approve their application, they will be required to find a new home for the business.

The location of the kennel is marked by a star. Photo courtesy City of Pitt Meadows

In her letter, McNair explained that she wasn’t sure of the reasons for the setback, but if they were noise related, it should not be a concern. The meat processing plant, airport and highway produce noise “far in excess of anything that will come from our small business,” she wrote. “Noise is simply not an issue in the area we are in.”

According to the report, the setback is to: “reduce noise and disturbance from neighbouring properties” and identified the meat processing plant as the most likely to be potentially impacted by the kennel.

The nearest residential home is on the property, but is 98 metres away. The next nearest home is about 200 metres away, the report indicates. Pitt Meadows Airport is located across the street, which the report notes is “generally noisy already.”

McNair asked for a temporary operating permit in her letter. She added that she’s worried they may run out of money waiting for the variance approval as they are currently paying rent on the barn and have people already wanting to use their services.

In a letter to support their variance application, McNair wrote that they chose Pitt Meadows for the business because of its location, demographics and the area’s need for the service they are pitching.

The matter is scheduled to be on the table at tonight’s council meeting.

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