Where to park the pooch is a potentially vexing problem for a dog-owning traveler who can’t include Fido in the itinerary.
Until now, Kirkwood residents have found no solution to this dilemma within the boundaries of their hometown.
But that now appears likely to change, as the city council on Aug. 1 approved a pair of special use permits for Camp Bow Wow, a rapidly growing national chain of dog hostelries, to move into Kirkwood. The Bow Wow camps offer both short and long-term boarding for canines, along with various ancillary services.
Camp Bow Wow thus interrupted a string of failed attempts by dog kennel operators to win council approval to come to Kirkwood. The killer for such proposals typically had been objections from prospective neighbors, both residential and commercial, to barking noise. Smell arising from the outdoor play yard was a secondary problem.
The petitioner and owner/operator of Camp Bow Wow is Sharon Jeffries, who lives in Kansas City, but said she’s moving to Kirkwood to run the dog camp (act as the Camp Bow Wow Lead Dog, says her business card).
Jeffries has faithfully attended council meetings and made sure the members knew she was amenable to their every suggestion.
“I want you to know that we are in alignment,” she said while addressing the council on the final amendments to the bill granting Camp Bow Wow its needed permits.
Jeffries also was very shrewd in her choice of a location, said Council Member Nancy Luetzow, author of one of the amendments to the bill.
The site at 902 S. Kirkwood Road is bordered on the west by a busy thoroughfare and on the north by the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The noise issue was abated further by Jeffries’ agreement to move the outdoor play area from the east side of the facility to the north, along the railroad tracks. No neighbor appeared to object to the petition prior to the final vote.
The dog camp will provide a welcome resolution for Bob Vatterott, owner of the property, who told the council he was very glad to see a new tenant put an end to what had become a prolonged vacancy. An auto body repair shop was approved for the site in 2017, but the applicant was unable to complete financial arrangements. The property has been unoccupied since.
Camp Bow Wow also bolstered its case by commissioning a study of potential noise from its future canine guests. Engineer Mike Biffignani of Soundare Acoustics Group in Brentwood reported that a vinyl covering for the camp’s chain link fence, along with a sound-dampening canopy over the play area, could reduce the sound from the dogs to level on a par with that of the ambient traffic on Kirkwood Road.
Luetzow’s amendment incorporated the vinyl cover and canopy into the ordinance requirements.
Jeffries further agreed to an amendment by Council Member Wallace Ward that an engineered system by installed to filter wastewater hosed off the dogs’ play area. Likewise, Jeffries agreed to Council Member Ellen Edman’s motion that the ordinance require at least two employees be present at the business each day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Altogether, the council was impressed at Jeffries’ “willingness to do whatever she could” to further her case, said Luetzow.