By Mark Waite
The recently-enacted Nye County animal ordinance may need to be tweaked a little more, to account for owners of more than 10 dogs, who now need a commercial kennel permit but aren’t necessarily a commercial operation.
The Pahrump Regional Planning Commission Wednesday heard a request by Carmen Day, who planned to buy a house on a 10-acre parcel on Mae Road, a quiet, dead-end street on the far north end of town near Shadow Mountain, but would be bringing her 12 dogs.
In this slow economy, with no planners presenting plans for major developments, like during the boom of 2004 to 2006, much of the discussion Wednesday night was questioning owners about how many dogs they had to comply with the new ordinance, whether they would have litters and other questions. Butch Borasky, the Nye County Commission liaison to the RPC, even suggested recently that the county manager study dissolving the RPC, amid a lack of development.
The owner of six to 10 dogs would require a residential kennel permit, but over 10 dogs would mean a commercial kennel is required. This is allowed in a rural homestead zone with a conditional use permit.
Nye County Planning Director Steve Osborne said five letters of opposition were submitted to Day’s application.
“Basically, those letters seem to be opposed to a full-blown, large-scale, kennel operation. That’s not what’s proposed here. The applicant in this case, they’re not proposing to have any employees, they’re not going to have any hours of operation, they won’t be open to the public, they won’t be selling dogs,” Osborne told the RPC. “It seems that this application falls a lot closer to the residential kennel.”
Day was caught off-guard when RPC member Jennifer McCall asked if she read the comments in the staff report from Nye County public works about dedicating a right-of-way to Nye County and improving the road to county standards. Public Works representative Tim Dahl said those suggestions were not being required.
“Do you understand our proposed special conditions?” McCall asked.
“What do you mean?” Day replied.
RPC Vice-Chairman John Koenig reminded the board the definition of commercial from Webster’s dictionary: with regard for profit.
“You said you had two litters in the past 10 years. Were those litters for profit?” RPC member Greg Hafen II asked.
“The puppies were sold, whether it was for a profit I can’t say,” Day replied.
If it seemed trivial, the neighbors didn’t think so. Day said she hadn’t met the neighbors yet. She didn’t get a warm reception Wednesday.
Neighbor Kathy Wedgeworth, who said she was in the real estate business for 30 years, said it is an extremely quiet neighborhood of six residences, mostly senior citizens.
“If you want to sit in my patio and have a private conversation, don’t do it because neighbors can hear what you’re saying. That’s how quiet it is,” Wedgeworth said.
She said Mae Road was a dirt road maintained by the residents who police it. There was a World War II veteran with mesothelioma and a senior with COPD that couldn’t put up with the dust stirred up by visitors.
“If I thought in a million years there would be a dog kennel up there I wouldn’t have bought my house,” Wedgeworth said.
Rudy Bella said he functioned as the Neighborhood Watch.
John Antilla said he lived due north of the property. “Who do I call on the barking dogs at five in the morning? Your number?”
Robert King, the newly-appointed RPC member, suggested another category between residential and commercial.
“There’s nothing to keep them from having 100, conceivably. It just seems like there’s a gap between commercial kennel and residential kennel,” King said.
Parker said the RPC did pull a waiver for a resident who exceeded the number of dogs under a residential kennel permit. But Day said she’d rather have the application rejected than get a waiver.
“I feel like I’m causing a lot of problems. I didn’t realize there would be this much discussion,” Day said. “If the neighbors are against it, it might be best just to vote no.”
No action was taken.