Kennel dispute needs compromise
As an adviser to Coun. Michael Vagnini, I would like to clarify some points in a letter to the editor re: a free-range kennel in Ward 2.
I attended the meeting at the writer’s address with the councillor to hear people’s concerns. Afterwards, he expressed his sympathy for their situation, indicated he would look into the matter, left his contact information and asked to be kept informed. There were no discussions beyond that.
As a representative of all constituents, the councillor also spoke to the kennel owner to hear their concerns.
In researching the situation, it became apparent that innocent errors by the city resulted in the kennel owner, after having made considerable investment, discovering years later they are out of compliance with a 30-year old zoning bylaw. It is equally apparent that most kennels in Greater Sudbury are also out of compliance.
Being out of zoning compliance due to an error can be fixed by a variance amendment to the zoning for the kennel property. The variance is being resisted by the complainants due to what is claimed to be a noise problem created by dogs barking at the kennel. Barking complaints, when investigated, have been insufficient to justify a warning to the kennel owner.
The kennel owner had noise measurements taken by the same engineering group the city uses. They found no evidence to justify a warning.
The councillor has personally tried to detect the noise levels being reported, as have I, without success. At the times when most complaints were made and within about 200 metres of the kennel, other dogs in the area could be heard barking and, at times, muffled barking from the kennel could be heard. This does not preclude that, at times, sharper barking might be detected.
While this work has been in progress, signs have been near the kennel attacking its existence, making hopes of mediation unlikely.
The councillor has looked for common ground for mediating a successful co-existence. So far, there has not been any softening of positions.
The writer lives about 800 metres from the kennels. The issue is a 300-metre setback requirement. Had the zoning requirement been met, the writer would have seen no difference from today.
The councillor, the city and the kennel have been upfront in trying to find a compromise without success. Compromise will be needed by all to reach a fair and equitable solution.
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