A proposed pet boarding facility off Whitestone Blvd. in Cedar Park has nearby community members concerned the 250-capacity “pet resort” will create a headache from the barking.
Pet Paradise, the proposed high-end dog kennel, is planned to build on a 2.04 acre tract of land at 2200 E. Whitestone Blvd. — right next to Serrano’s restaurant — and will share a driveway with BMC offices. The approximately 15,000 square-foot building will offer a pet day care, grooming services, overnight boarding suites with “patios”, and an interior, open air play area — the source of the concern.
About 100 feet south of the proposed facility sits the private residence of Russell Patronella, and 400 feet away are a few dozen homeowners in the Cottages and Abrantes subdivisions.
In response, the nearby community members gathered a petition of about 30 signatures in opposition to the building permit. They would rather have the kennel built somewhere else, but the main concern is with the outdoor play areas and how the sound of potentially a hundred dogs could be carried by a nearby creek into the neighborhoods. In addition to the noise, they said they fear their property values will be affected.
“I’m afraid it’s going to kill the home value,” said Paul Sucata, a soon-to-be Abrantes resident. “At this point, I’ve got a significant investment in the property. I’m under contract, and I’m thinking about backing out because I might lose that in the value of the house.”
At the Cedar Park Planning and Zoning meeting Tuesday, July 18, the commission voted 4-2 to approve a special use permit by developers Adelman Holdings-Whitestone LLC in an effort to mitigate noise concerns. The permit allows the developers to build 10 feet below land elevation, add in landscaping with shrubs and trees and privacy fencing to block sight lines among the dogs. With the special permit approved, the project will move forward to its first reading at the next scheduled Cedar Park City Council meeting Aug. 10.
“We’ve built 27 of these facilities, and if there’s ever any issues that we deal with in terms of noise, we address that,” said Fernando Acosta-Rua, CEO and president of Pet Paradise.
Play times for the dogs are normally 15 to 20 minutes with small groups of dogs outside at a time, and only between 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. If dogs are barking excessively, they would be brought and held inside, said Acosta-Rua.
Patronella said he’s concerned about the tall walls of the nearby BMC building reflecting noise at his house and the Abrantes homes, as well as a creekbed to the east that will carry the noise.
“These guys are cream of the crop and it’s a first class operation, but it doesn’t need to be where it is,” Patronella said. “Dogs bark, there’s no doubt about it. We have a perfect storm for an acoustic nightmare in that area.”
Patronella said he feels that the city isn’t hearing the community’s concerns.
“The city has thrown us under the bus because they don’t have the pertinent, scientific information that goes along with having an outdoor facility for dogs,” Patronella said. “I emailed the facts to the city, but they didn’t read them.”
City officials have met with Patronella three separate times, and have read all of his emails, said Jennie Huerta, Cedar Park media and communications manager.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to the Cedar Park City Council. Some planning and zoning commissioners said because the region is zoned for commercial use, noise will be inevitable. However, the commission has requested a noise study for the property.
“I’m not convinced a well-designed kennel is going to be any noisier than what you’d hear from the street, and it’s commercial land,” said Bob Ingraham, a Planning and Zoning commissioner. “We deal with this every week and we’re very sympathetic to it.”
Eric Boyce, the Planning and Zoning Commission chair, said he hopes both parties will be able to come to an agreement.
“I really do feel there’s common ground here, and we’re sensitive to the concerns,” he said.