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Zoning board says Southie street can go to the dogs

The Zoning Board of Appeals today approved a "doggie hotel" for a parcel between E. 1 and E. 2 streets that will feature 24-hour dog care, including physical and hydrotherapy.

Nearby residents opposed Fenway Bark, saying it would mean increased noise, odor and traffic. One resident said he'd been planning to sell his house to raise funds for care of his handicapped son, but ever since word got out, he hasn't been able to get a single South Boston broker to show the house because nobody wants to look at a house next to a kennel.

Because of their opposition, the mayor's office and the offices of City Councilor Bill Linehan, state Sen. Jack Hart and state Rep. Brian Wallace all opposed the facility. Wallace's office accused Fenway Bark of using "intimidation tactics" through phone calls and e-mail to neighbors.

But board members noted the building on the property used to be used for printing and that the only reason ISD issued a stop-work order on the renovation of the building for a kennel was because of "interim" zoning regulations adopted 11 years ago. Board member Michael Monahan said the owner had the right to use the property for some commercial use, especially one that would employ up to 40 people, and that if residents didn't want a printing plant and objected to another plan to build condos on the land, then they were going to get a kennel.

The project is still subject to a design review by the BRA and another zoning-board hearing on proposed parking lot. After the meeting, some residents spoke of appealing the board decision in court.

Proponents, some of whom live in South Boston, said Fenway Bark would be a badly needed resource for local dog owners. One said that when he travels, he now has to go all the way into Dorchester to board his dogs and that while that facility is OK, he has to pay to get his dogs clean because they play in the dirt there. John Moon, of New England Assistance Dog Services of Princeton, said the kennel would be a boon to veterans and people with guide dogs.

Fenway Bark lawyer Richard Lynds said the building already has thick walls that would screen out noise and that the interior would employ a special under-carpet sweeping system to collect wasted for removal two or three times a week.

Neighbors, however, said the walls were nowhere near as thick as Lynds said and that barking would be carried into the neighborhood through the building's tin ventilation system.

Lisa Ballard, who lives right next door to the building and has two young children, said she's also concerned by the number of cars coming and going to pick up pets.

"This will affect our lives," she said. "Every single day."

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Comments

You live in a major city, DEAL WITH IT.

It's amusing, because from what I'm seeing is this is going to be an entirely indoor kennel, in an area zoned for commercial and industrial business.

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These folks bought a home next to a factory. They probably got great prices for their homes as a result. Now they're complaining about being the building being put to an industrial/commercial use, after these same folks turned down a condo project on the site?

While I'll admit that I'd probably be doing the same thing if I were in their shoes, I don't see any objective reason for letting the abutters win on this one.

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The area is located in the South Boston IPOD (Interim Overlay Planning District) and zoned for a mix of uses. The building is zoned for commercial but it's surrounded by residences who should have some protection under the IPOD against incompatible uses. What's interesting is the BRA (the City's planning arm) was quoted in this morning's Herald as saying doggy day care is an incompatible land use for that area.

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also not entirely true. It's right on the edge of residential / commercial in southie. There's several new renovations and new condo developments there I bet have an issue with this, but tough, look at it's freaking location. It isn't in the heart of Southie. One lot over is a huge coal fired electrical substation.

Also found this about it on another web site:

After making operational modifications based on concerns expressed by the neighborhood in a December 9, 2009 City of Boston Office of Neighborhood Services (“ONS”) neighborhood meeting, and sharing them with the abutters and South Boston community, Fenway Bark will be presenting to the Zoning Board of Appeals documentation of almost 750 supporters within the community, 90% of whom are from South Boston and most of whom are dog owners. The documentation will also show that 93% of abutters who could be reached after an extensive and thorough outreach effort are supportive, or are not opposed, to the business opening at the 553 E. First Street location.

“We are grateful to neighbors and abutters who have taken the time to discuss their concerns and listened to our solutions and as a direct result, embraced bringing our much needed business to the community,” said Fulton. “They understand both the need for the services and that we are trying to be a good neighbor.”

Let em in, 40 more jobs on the edge of Southie is great news!

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Of the 750 letters of support, at least 500 were people who responded to Fenway Bark's job postings on Craig's List, Monster.com, etc. The city was "duped" by Michael Indresano who has always known that the building is in an IPOD but failed to tell the owners of Fenway Bark that upfront. ISD screwed up and the ZBA felt compelled to mitigate the 2 errors.

It is not over - no one wants to live next to a dog kennel - not even the owner or her partner wants to live next to it - they're from Chicago and live in Braintree - what does that tell you?

40 more jobs - most of them part-time with no benefits. Are you kidding me?

This will go to court -

And for all of you suburbanites - it is a residential area - heavily populated - think about this - would you want to live next to it? Would you want your kids to have to live next to it? My guess is the answer is no - but of course, it's OK for Southie -

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Anyways, it's a moot point according to their Facebook Page:

Fenway Bark: I am so happy to share with the Fenway Bark community that we won the Zoning Board case today and we look forward to serving you and your four legged family members in the future! We are so happy! Thank you for your support. You have all been so supportive through this difficult period! Woof! Woof!

Good for them. Apparently the stop work order, and all the review, was caused by the complaint of ONE Resident.

Color me not surprised.

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There were at least two direct abutters at the hearing today.

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The Boston ZBA acted as an independent Board and didn't just listen to cranky neighbors, the BRA, and the Mayor's office? Who knew! It is so refreshing to see that the ZBA actually makes decisions based on common sense and merit - and not just the loudest opponents in the room. I remember the proposal to convert the site to residential a few years ago. Same neighbors, same complaints, same shouting, same opposition. As a neighbor, I actually would have preferred eliminating a commercial use in favor of residential development. So what is it that they want here? Nothing I guess - which everyone knows is unrealistic. At some point opposition to everything becomes unreasonable and the zoning board is forced to make a decision. Of course, that decision will never be the right decision in the eyes of such neighbors - but it certainly doesn't make this the wrong decision.

Nobody ever said progress was easy...but at least its progress. Best of luck to Fenway Bark - my hat is off to you for not giving up despite what most viewed as insurmountable opposition to your project - I hope you will be a good neighbor.

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Years ago,the residential proposal you refer to, was never presented in a formal way to the neighborhood but the developer heard our reaction to his unreasonable 24 unit 4 story building with 24 cars so get your facts straight. By the way, we supported the conversion of the much larger former Greyhound garage half a block away into 18 units.
The ZBA is no way an independent board look who sits on it and their connections. In this case they were covering the mistakes of ISD who issued the original permit under shady circumstances without considering the IPOD zoning in place that specifically calls for uses that are compatible with the residential neighborhood. The H1-50 zoning directly across the street from this building forbids kennels. The ZBA's arbitrary decision defied the very zoning regulations that they are supposed to uphold.
It's laughable that you call a kennel with 70 dogs progress. Stick in in your backyard.

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A friend of mine at city hall told me that if I wanted to understand how these back room decisions were made that I should visit the Office of Campaign & Political Finance's website, which tracks all the big donations made to political candidates like the Mayor.

Much to my surprise, Fenway Bark's attorney Richard C. Lynds contributed $1,500 to Mayor Menino over the last 5 years. Since the board is hand picked by the Mayor, what kind of impact do you think Lynd's contribution has on the process?

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The BRA and Neighborhood Services opposition to the kennel? The ISD stop-work order? All just a front?

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As usual folks here have no clue...First there are NO coal Fired plants in Boston Zip nada none..second this kennel will board over 70 dogs with that comes traffic, barking and smells..the folks who live there did not buy there homes to have to put up with this. The ZBA is suppose to listen to abbutters not to folks who live in other parts of the City..as with all kennels something here STINKS....

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One of the Mayor's long time supporters, and long time zoning board member Mike Monahan, does what Menino tells him to do. I'm sure there was also some deal to ensure that IBEW Local 103 would be doing the work at the site as Mike Monahan is the Buisness Manager.

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Never mind what zone the building is almost located in. It's in the M-1 industrial zone as are the houses near it and most of the buildings on the south side of 1st street, and the M-1 zone includes hundreds of acres of industrial property on the north side of 1st street right up to the water's edge. This building is simply on the southern edge of one huge industrial zone. It's not complicated.
It's the housing that is actually out of place in the M-1 manufacturing / industrial zone, not as some nit wits would like you to believe. The one dog day care business in the area on E. 2nd. St called Pawstonian, or Barkstonian, whatever! or something close to that name is actually in a residential H-150 zone, or the St.Vincents zone, it's too close to call, but both those zones forbid kennels. So that's an illegal business according to the zone map. Where's the uproar over a clearly illegal business on E.2cnd St., when the business on first street is an allowed use in a M-1 zone? Let me guess, the person complaining owns the business on E. 2nd St. Good luck running your illegal business until you get caught.

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