My apologies for taking so long to post this - I've had a bad week for headaches and have been fitting stuff in between "episodes" -
Monday night was the latest hurdle for the legalization/acceptance/movement towards in home doggy day cares for the HRM with the Peninsula Community Council Meeting and Public Hearing when they heard the people for and against the application for the amendment to the Land Use Bylaw allowing in home dog daycares in the HRM.
Things went fabulously and just as hoped - not that the amendment to the Land use Bylaw will be passed, because that's not what we want - but that a development agreement will be allowed - so that each person who wants to open up an in home doggy day care in the HRM will have to apply to the City, seek the approval of their neighbours, and have to go through several qualifying "hoops" - before they can open their business in their home.
In other words - rules and regulations are going to be set up - the Halifax Regional Municipality is going to become (hopefully) the first city in Canada to legally allow in home doggy day cares as an in home occupation - with rules and guidelines and regulations - all approved by the City.
And to think it all started because of one bitch's vindictiveness.
At the public hearing on Monday I submitted a 49 page diatribe if you care to read it - It talks about why we need doggy day cares, it lists all the local doggy in home day cares - because for some reason the City thinks that the Canine Casbah is the only one doing that type of business in Canada - and also why having an in home doggy in your neighbourhood won't make a bit of difference to the quality of your neighbourhoods life. If you want to read it - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll email it to you.
Here's the Chronicle Herald article that was in the paper today about it:
Doggy day care may get to sit, stay in Halifax neighbourhood
By AMY PUGSLEY FRASER City Hall Reporter | 5:31 AM
The owner of a Halifax doggy day care is pleased that the city will work with her to consider allowing her business to operate legitimately.
"I’m chomping at the bit to get started, to get this going," Janet Chernin said Tuesday.
Ms. Chernin has been operating Canine Casbah on Oak Street for 11 years with no complaints from her neighbours, her clients or the city.
However, a query by an ex-competitor brought a bylaw enforcement officer to her door almost two years ago.
"My jaw just dropped," she said Tuesday in an interview, remembering her reaction to his presence at the door and the news that she was being cited for violating a municipal bylaw that prohibits "an animal grooming or care home-based business" in peninsular Halifax.
Since then, she’s been trying to get her business on the radar — and into the realm of municipal acceptance — while fighting the charge in court.
Central to her case is that dog day cares are not included in the city bylaws because they’re outdated, she says, pointing to a clause in a bylaw that refers to "the keeping of animals" as one of the four occupations you can’t do in your home.
"That, to me, harkens back to livestock," she said.
"It’s time HRM grows up with the times and the need for doggy day cares.
"Look at how many dog stores are out there, and (dog) apparel. It’s huge. It’s a multimillion-dollar industry, pet care and supplies."
While Ms. Chernin was originally applying to amend the land-use bylaw to permit pet care facilities in residential areas, a recent meeting of the downtown planning advisory committee advised against it.
Instead, the committee felt that proceeding by way of a development agreement "would allow a public consultation process with the neighbourhood," says a staff report.
After a public hearing Monday night, the Peninsula community council agreed.
The chairwoman of the community council said Tuesday that development agreements give the city much more control over the businesses and allow it to deal with each location in a "one-off."
"Most of the people at the public hearing spoke in favour of the Canine Casbah," said Coun. Sheila Fougere (Connaught-Quinpool).
However, a development agreement would enable controls on items such as noise, the size and type of fence, the size of the facility including the backyard, and the number of dogs, because not everyone would be as "capable" as Ms. Chernin, she said.
"That will ensure that every Tom, Dick and Harry who likes dogs won’t set up a doggy day care," Ms. Fougere said.
Permitting the businesses could be a "very good thing," she said.
"The hard part is allaying the fears of people who kind of look at this and say, ‘I never want that next (door) to me!’ But with the right controls in place and input from those folks, you can provide a good business."
Ms. Chernin is in favour of proceeding in tandem with the city.
"I’ve been saying since Day 1 that there need to be rules and regulations. It was never my intent to break a municipal law.
"So I look forward to working with HRM to establish these types of checks and balances."
Another doggy day-care owner said Tuesday that she is encouraged by the progress made on Ms. Chernin’s case.
"It’s very promising," said Wendy Gillespie, whose Pampered Paws Inn on Hammonds Plains Road was hit with a similar charge recently. She was told to comply or face closure.
Ms. Gillespie has received an extension until the end of the summer to put together an application to possibly amend the bylaw and zoning that governs her business.
Attending the public hearing Monday night at city hall was helpful, she said.
"I feel a lot better about what the outcome might be," she said.
Although city staff weren’t able to find too many cities across Canada that had laws governing doggy day cares, both business owners are keen for the municipality to take the lead.
"Basically, we might be the catalyst for doing our own thing here in Halifax," Ms. Gillespie said.
"And there’s definitely a need."