On Thursday the Planning and Zoning commission approved a change of use to allow a new dog grooming, day care, training and boarding facility, along with the sale of incidental pet products, at 1340 East Putnam Avenue in Old Greenwich. The site is in the LB Zone. Its previous use was retail.
PAWS of Greenwich will be next to the retail food establishment Curry & Hurry and a dry cleaner.
Attorney Chip Haslun said his clients, Jessica DelGuercio and Brian Levinson, had looked for a fitting location for their business for two years. “It’s difficult because there aren’t a lot of places within the zoning regulations where this use is permitted,” he said.
The retail space had been vacant for a year or two.
Haslun said challenge for the landlord to rent the space stemmed from the non conformity of the parking. There are only 12 parking spaces and PAWS of Greenwich will share them with both the dry cleaner and Curry & Hurry.
As for drop off and pick up, Haslun said a fob system based on a proprietary mobile device application would enable clients to drop off a dog or pick up a dog within 2-3 minutes of arriving on site, initially.
“As customers get more acquainted they believe they can bring it down to one minute or a minute and a half to have the exchange of the dog with its owner,” Haslun said, adding the applicant estimates that about half of PAWS of Greenwich’s clients will make use of the valet pick up and drop off service. “There are adjustments that can be made if the commission finds complaints are made or if there are problems are observed with the site functioning as we anticipate it will.”
The approval was issued with conditions: The facility will not exceed the maximum of 45 dogs at any one time.The facility shall provide one employee per 10 dogs – approximately five staff. Business hours shall be 7:00am to 7:00pm daily.
Drop off will be between 7:00am and 9:00am. Pickup between 5:00pm and 7:00pm. Overnight stays limited to 6 dogs and an employee shall be on site at all times during overnight stays.
Valet transport to and from client residents shall be maintained with primary access to the site.
Grooming shall be by appointment only. Applicant shall provide a curbside pickup service managed through the proprietary mobile device application. Applicant shall provide each client with a key fob for quick identification for drop off and pick up.
Prior to the certificate of occupancy being issued, PAWS of Greenwich will provide a copy of the State of Connecticut license required from the State Dept of Agriculture.
In six months P&Z staff will evaluate whether parking mitigation procedures are working as intended. If not, the applicant will be asked to propose actions to mitigate parking drop off difficulties.
At any time there is any change in any tenant in the entire building, the property owner is required to come to P&Z staff.
If there is a change of use, they must come before the entire commission.
“Because there’s only 12 parking spaces. That’s what we worry about,” said commission chair Alban. “If Curry & Hurry or the dry cleaner become something else, you could have a problem.”
P&Z director Katie DeLuca said should there be a change of use group without coming before P&Z, that would result in a site plan violation and the business would be “shut down.”
“We’ve said all there is to say about it. It’s basically just crossing our fingers and hoping this works,” Alban said.
The commission voted unanimously to approve the application with the above conditions.