Overland Park commission OKs plan for Metcalf pet daycare over objection of neighbors leery of barking

Photo used under a Creative Commons license.

The owner of Two Dogs and a Cat pet care facility believes his second location, planned for 7620 Metcalf Avenue, will offer a service that many new apartment dwellers moving into downtown Overland Park will use.

Some neighbors, however, were leery of noise from the 90 dogs that could be there if the business is at capacity during the day. They told city planning commissioners they’d prefer a different location for a place that will include an outdoor play area for the animals.

The building on Metcalf where the new pet daycare will be located. Photo credit Johnson County Appraiser’s Office.

Five people who have homes or businesses near the area between Floyd Street and Metcalf urged commissioners not to approve a five-year special use permit that would allow pet boarding at the strip mall where John Cavalcanti hopes to expand his business.

“Ninety dogs outside barking just doesn’t appeal to me,” said Rob Thomas, a property owner on nearby Floyd Street. “I would ask all of you if you would be okay if 90 dogs were to move into your neighborhood across the street from your house. Would you vote for that?”

Actually, no more than 45 animals would be on the premises at night, and they would not all be allowed at once out in the play area, which is open but surrounded by a stucco wall, Cavalcanti said. In fact, no more than 20 or 25 would be allowed in the play area at any one time.

Neighbors and some commissioners, though, said they were concerned about whether the dogs would create too much noise and cause a drop in property values.

The original Two Dogs and a Cat at 119th Street and Metcalf Avenue is in a more commercial area, they said, with a better buffer from the residences.

“You have (special use permits) for a reason,” said Matt Van Becelaere, a Prairie Village resident who owns business property nearby. Van Becelaere said the noise might make it less likely that he could get tenants.

Cavalcanti assured the commission that his operation takes care to address the needs of pets and nearby residents. Outdoor play areas are a trademark of his business because they are better for pet health and give dogs a chance to exhaust themselves so they’ll sleep quietly at night, he said.

The staff also takes steps to keep the dogs calm, he said. Classical music plays at all times because of its soothing effect, and staff takes care not to over stimulate the dogs with too many toys or too much activity after their outdoor play is done in the afternoon.

The pet care company had some support among the speakers, though. Four people testified to the quality of service and conditions at the 119th Street location.

Dale Griffin, who owns the property where the new pet center would open, said many of the new downtown residents will have pets. “That leads me to believe there’s going to be a sincere need for this,” he said. “I can’t think of another place in the general area that is more suited for this.”

Planning Commissioner Holly Streeter-Schaefer agreed about the need. “I think as Overland Park changes the way this area is looking that they’re going to have to also look at the amenities that people who are moving into this area will need for their pets,” she said, adding that “people are having more pets than kids. So we have to start looking at that as a city.”

In the end the permit was approved, 8-2.