The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen on May 14 gave no clear indication of its disposition toward a petition to more than double the number of dogs at a given time at the Y Bark Alone dog daycare facility. The aldermen did, however, agree to make owner Patches Ellis wait a month for their decision.
Ellis, who opened the daycare, grooming and boarding facility in 2012 at 10390 Watson Road, has been victimized by her own success. She told the board that demand for her service has been overwhelming and she needs an amendment to her conditional use permit to allow up to 120 dogs on the site — up from the current allowance of 50 dogs.
“It wouldn’t even need to be 120. I’d settle for 100, I just didn’t want to have to come back for another amendment if that still isn’t enough,” she said.
She acknowledged that the original research she did in arriving at the limit of 50 was flawed. She said she relied on internet sites maintained by similar dog care businesses, then later discovered under Missouri Department of Agriculture guidelines that her facility is suited for 120 dogs. The dogs at the site are segregated in three different play rooms by size.
City Public Works Director Bryson Baker said his staff visited the site, “and 50 dogs seems pretty full. To double that? It doesn’t seem feasible.”
Planning and zoning unanimously panned the petition in April. Noise was a leading factor in that rejection.
“It’s the dogs’ barking and that my staff yells at the dogs. But when the dogs are let outside for ‘bathroom breaks,’ they are very excited and there are times we have to yell at them,” Ellis said.
She said the problem could be resolved if she adopts a policy whereby no more than five dogs at a time are allowed outside in the fenced-in yard.
Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong said by his calculation, if the number of dogs is increased as Ellis requests, there will be multiple dogs outside for 12 hours each day and that 20-minute “bathroom breaks” have or will become “exercise” time. The conditional use permit specifically prohibits dogs from being “exercised” outdoors.
Ellis requested her petition receive a second reading and vote, but the board declined, setting up a June decision.
Sunset Transportation Moving To Sunset Office Park
City Administrator Eric Sterman told the board that a long-vacant commercial property at the northernmost end of Sunset Office Park will soon be gaining a tenant.
“I’m happy to say that Sunset Transportation will moving here and bringing 250 jobs with them,” Sterman said.
Sunset Transportation is currently headquartered in Concord Village. It is operated by founder Jim Williams, a Sunset Hills resident.
Alderman Dee Baebler, a member of the economic development committee, said her committee was “very excited” when it learned of the company’s plan to relocate to Sunset Hills.
Peace Haven Renovations
The board overwhelmingly approved three separate but related bills that will allow Peace Haven – a 50-year-old, Christian Science-affiliated senior care facility at 12630 Rott Road – to undertake major renovations on its current site. It operates as a non-conforming use, having been established prior to city zoning in 1957.
Golf Course Redevelopment
Parks and Recreation Director Gerald Brown reported that a town-hall meeting to gather public input on redevelopment of the former Sunset Hills Golf Course property donated to the city last year will be held June 12 at 5:30 p.m.
The city has already agreed to lease a portion of the 100-plus-acre tract to the St. Louis Bombers Rugby Club, which is planning to turn the ground into a rugby facility. The city has also said it hopes to retain part of the site as a golf driving range that either it will operate or lease to a vendor.