After citing the residential nature of the properties along North Seed Tick Road, the Dawson County Planning Commission recommended denial of a special use permit for the site proposed by Barkville Dog Rescue at its meeting on February 15.
The council of commissioners will vote to ultimately approve or deny the permit during their voting session on March 17 in the second-floor meeting room of the Dawsonville courthouse. This voting session will immediately follow the 4:00 p.m. working session.
“Currently, we have a residential area. the [comprehensive] the plan shows it as residential…and the special use would not be residential? said John Maloney, Planning Commissioner for District 2, where the proposed site is located.
“No sir,” President Jason Hamby replied before the board voted to recommend denial.
Barkville Dog Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization based in Jasper. Its co-founder, Kimberly Murphy, said the organization has helped rescue 2,000 dogs since it began in 2016. They previously housed dogs on her large personal property in Pickens County, but now Murphy has moved to County Dawson and she would not live. on the new kennel site if it materializes.
Even before the planning commission meeting, concern about the possible rescue location was ripe on the “Focus on Dawson” Facebook group. Most people expressed concern about noise, runoff, and safety, and several others complained about zoning changes.
For further clarification, Murphy said in a follow-up post on the Facebook group and at the meeting that his organization was not asking for a zoning change. Their request for a special use permit falls under the current residential-agricultural zoning of the area.
On the 20-acre site, Barkville intends to build a 5,000 square foot facility to house less than 35 dogs until they are adopted. The non-profit is run by volunteers and intends to have someone who lives or spends the night on site to watch the dogs.
Preliminary architectural renderings show the planned play, enrichment and practice areas in addition to the property’s interior facilities, tax plots 092-008 and 092-008-002.
The indoor facilities of the kennel would be air-conditioned, according to the permit application. Planning staff recommended a 200 foot setback from all property lines for the main building and exterior structures and a minor flat to combine the parcels and have a 50 foot setback from creeks and creeks. Staff also recommended a 30-dog limit and a minimum 10-foot buffer zone of evergreens along the property boundary with tax plots 092-109 and 092-110 to the north.
Kimberly Murphy stated in writing and at the meeting that she would be willing to work with architects and landscaping professionals to maximize the plant buffer zone.
She also highlighted their intention to ensure the kennel would be built with minimal impact on the area and reiterated that this line of thinking was why the non-profit had purchased such a large property.
Neighboring owner Charles Pritchett, who bought 65 acres about two years ago, said he was preparing to build his retirement home at the back of his property, which borders Barkville’s 20 acres. He said his house would be 50 feet from the property line during construction and mentioned noise and runoff issues. He pointed out that the geography of the proposed site really only allows for structures on a ridge near one of the lakes or large ponds.
“I think it’s a good thing to do to save animals, and I’m all for saving animals…but I really, categorically feel like this is the wrong place. “, did he declare.
Charles’ son, Steven Pritchett agreed and added that his store where he does his daily business is within 600 feet of the property line. Additionally, Steven owns a portion of one of the lakes that is also on the Barkville property.
Mike Garcia, a promoter who has lived in Dawson County since 1996, mentioned the man’s business that has been shut down along North Seed Tick Road in recent years and recommended the nonprofit to look for a property further north or west.
Neighboring owner Cheryl Crane also cited the closure of the business and said the safety of her disabled husband and niece could be at risk if the dogs become loose as they are unable to defend themselves.
“In rescue [work], we visit a variety of shelters in the Atlanta metro area,” said Roy Podolin, Barkville Board Member. “I’ve parked at various shelters where there are over 20 dogs in the building, and when I park and park my car there, I don’t hear any barking. Most of the day, the intention is [that] dogs will be inside the facility except for exercise during normal times.
Neighboring owner Dan Matthews pointed out that the kennel could end up violating Dawson County’s own noise ordinance if the dogs bark for 10 minutes continuously or for
30 minutes intermittently.
Another rescue supporter, Carla Cobb, pointed to closure plans around the planned premises, its proposed distance of more than 600 feet from the road and nearest neighbor and the nonprofit’s intention to rehabilitate the two ponds at the rear of the property.
Tom Chandler, whose in-laws own farmland bordering the rear of the proposed kennel property, wondered why the particular piece of land was chosen for the kennel, given the different topographical challenges.
He said the dam on one of the ponds “is in desperate need of repairs” so it does not burst and cross Charles Pritchett’s property.
In addition to duckweed and algae, he said a pond’s drains were not working and could make the dam’s problem worse.
“We have cows, chickens, goats and sheep. If any of those dogs go out or become a problem…they could go into the pasture and it could become a problem for them (the in-laws) because that’s their livelihood,” Chandler said.
Another speaker was Don Walton, resident and president of the homeowners association for the nearby Crooked Tree development. Citing factors such as noise, runoff, traffic and children playing in the area, he believed the rescue there would impact property values.
“We pay a lot of taxes, and if the value of our properties is affected because of the opening of this facility … it will also have an impact on the taxable income of residents,” he said. “I think most people were opposed to it, and I spoke to a number of them…[they] are all for a rescue center… it’s just a shame they’re trying to put it in a residential area.
Fellow Crooked Tree resident Greg Allshouse asked about the kennel’s potential for growth or salvage capacity.
“Twenty-eight dogs today… how many dogs does that represent in five years?” Are they getting bigger? They have 20 acres. They said they barely used a tiny fraction of the 20 acres,” he said. “I have no reason not to believe that 28 could become how many…[and] it’s a little scary in our neighborhood.
He added that of the speakers who reside around North Seed Tick Road, he “hadn’t heard a single person here say, ‘We should put this in this residential part of Dawsonville, and I live right next to it, so that’s where he should go.'”