By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Officials are considering their options when it comes to regulating canine facilities in town.
That could include adding a new kennel regulation to the town’s ordinance.
Planning Board members pondered the kennel option at a meeting May 1. Building inspector Richard Canuel gave an update on how the town could add a kennel rule and enforce where facilities could be located under the zoning ordinance.
Last spring, zoning officials denied a Litchfield couple’s application to build a large, commercial kennel in town.
Leonard and Jane Vigeant came before the Zoning Board for permission to build and operate a commercial dog kennel facility on 15 acres on Nashua Road within the town’s Performance Overlay District.
That application was denied for a number of reasons, including potential noise and smell coming from the kennel.
With no kennel provision in place at that time, Canuel said zoning officials strugged.
“Right now, it’s not a permitted use,” Canuel said. “We don’t have any provision in our ordinance that addresses kennels as a professional business. Our ordinance should have provisions.
Canuel suggested several zones in town where a kennel would be successful, including allowing a facility by Conditional Permit Only where officials could monitor a facility and make sure criteria was being met. Abutters to any kennel plan would have input on the plan and could bring forward any concerns during a public hearing.
That would give officials the opportunity to work with applicants toward a successful solution, Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg said.
He said having a kennel law in place would aid those who want to open a business similar to the Barking Dog in Derry or the All Dogs Gym in Manchester, more of a boarding kennel service, not a kennel for breeding purposes.
“I think the need is there,” Rugg said. “It’s a service. A lot of people have pets and they often need the perfect place to leave their pets.”
Town planner Cynthia May said other communities and their kennel rules would be helpful as Londonderry moves forward. Some towns, including Bedford, permit kennels in commercial zones; other towns don’t have specific rules governing kennels.
Keeping kennels in specific zones would safeguard the town against any home business that could be a recipe for disaster, officials said.
“We will look at other examples,” May said, “and there will be some safeguards built in. That could all be part of our Conditional Use Permit.”
May said a workshop would be helpful to flesh out more details.