Steamboat Springs Ron and Peggy Haases' dream to build a resort-like boarding kennel for pets is one step closer to coming true.
On Tuesday, the Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the Haases' proposal to build RKRanch Pet Resort, a 24-suite kennel facility on an 18-acre parcel of land off of Colorado Highway 131, eight miles south of Steamboat Springs.
The Routt County Planning Commission previously had denied the proposal in June because the commission was concerned about noise, traffic congestion and smell; that the proposal didn't meet the county's master plan; and that the proposal didn't meet the county's skylining regulations.
After the Haases' re-proposed their plan to the county commissioners taking into account the planning commissioners recommendations and public comment they received, the county commissioners said they felt comfortable moving ahead with the project.
"What I always need to keep in mind when deciding whether to approve (a special-use permit), is if that use is allowed and if any and all concerns can be substantially mitigated," said county commissioner Nancy Stahoviak. "I believe with the addition of a few conditions that all of the issues and concerns we have discussed can be met."
Before approving the special-use permit, the county commissioners agreed that the Haas' would need to comply with all of the Steamboat Springs Rural Fire Protection District requirements; could only allow one dog outside and that the dog had to be accompanied by an employee, unless the dogs were from the same family in which case two could be allowed out at the same time; could not post any advertising signs on the property; would be responsible for maintaining the road that led to the kennel in both summer and winter, which could include dust mitigation; that the kennel could only hold a maximum of 24 dogs; and that the kennel would be reviewed annually. The commissioners agreed that the kennel would not violate any skylining regulation after the planning commission conducted a series of tests.
The Haases agreed to all the conditions.
"I'm just really glad the (county commissioners) listened. All we want to do is to create a facility that meets our community's need," Peggy Haas said. "Now we can make it happen."
After the planning commission voted down the kennel proposal in June, Haas said she was concerned the kennel might not have happened.
"It was a real possibility for us that we weren't going to get approval (Tuesday.) I was really discouraged after the planning commission voted it down," she said.
During Tuesday's public comment, several adjacent property owners and business owners spoke out against the kennel saying it would be noisy, smelly, unsightly and would detract from their property values.
Carol Bloodworth, owner of Red Rover Resort near Milner, wrote a letter opposing the Haases' permit. In May, Bloodworth received a special-use permit to expand her kennel to add 34 units. She went from being able to accommodate 20 dogs to being able to accommodate up to 65.
"I am concerned that we are flooding the market to add another one at this time, which will not benefit either one of us," she said. "I feel the operation proposed will definitely impact the area with noise and visibility. Indoor/ outdoor kennels allow for a lot of noise, and due to the open topography and line-of-sight to their neighbors, there is nothing to stop it."
Part-time neighbor Wendell Flemming agreed.
"We are vehemently opposed to it because it will impact our enjoyment of our own property," she said. "Barking dogs would totally wreck what we consider our peace and quiet when we are here."
According to the Haases' proposal they plan on controlling how many dogs are outside, and reassured the commissioners and their neighbors that the dogs would not have free reign to go in and out. Also, the Haases' plan to use acoustical steel that would prevent 8/10 of the noise generated by the dogs from escaping the kennel.
"We're not saying dogs won't bark. We know dogs bark. We're trying to provide an area where they won't be barking so our neighbors wont hear them," Haas said.
Haas said the daily schedule the dogs will follow would keep them well fed, entertained and happy. The dog resort will include amenities like room service, TV and music.
The Haases' next step in constructing the kennel will be to meet with the building department.
Haas said she could not estimate when the kennel would be completed because of the ongoing construction traffic on Colo. 131 and the unpredictable fall and winter weather.