Board members said they liked the idea, but not the proposed location.
Diane Schindlbeck requested rezoning for the property at the north end of Fruitport Road that currently houses Fredrickson Electric and Fur Crazy Pet Salon. She said she thinks Schindy's Place, a high-end day care/pet hotel/training facility, is needed in the area.
But Township Board members said they had noise and rezoning concerns. Since dog kennels aren't allowed in the township’s current commercial zoning designation, Schindlbeck requested the property be rezoned to agricultural, which does allow such facilities.
“I absolutely love the idea, and I'm probably your target group (owner of a spoiled dog),” Trustee Rachel Terpstra said at Monday night’s Township Board meeting. “But my biggest concern is I'm not a fan of spot zoning. It doesn't fit with the Master Plan.”
Trustee Larry Mierle said he's lived 900 feet from a kennel, and doesn't think they belong in residential neighborhoods.
“Every person that drove in that driveway, it was one wild mass of dogs barking nonstop,” he said. “I cannot figure out how you're going to keep your sound down. I do not think you can quiet those dogs down at any time, and you will have people coming down your throat. To me, there's nothing more grating on a person's spine than a dog barking.”
Schindlbeck said all pet owners would be interviewed and dogs screened prior to being accepted at her “high-end” facility. If a dog barked while outside, he or she would be ushered inside.
Indoors, each dog would have its own hotel suite with a bed, Schindlbeck said.
Someone would staff the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and training would be a huge focus, according to Schindlbeck, the wife of Spring Lake Township Cemetery Director Eric Schindlbeck.
Her business plan also includes having a veterinarian on-call 24/7. Currently, she told the board, pet owners must take their animals to Grand Rapids if an emergency arises.
“I want to create something totally different that our community has never had,” Schindlbeck said of the cage-free facility. “It's really going to be a training facility. I'll have two certified trainers helping me.”
Following the board's denial, Schindlbeck said she's not giving up on her dream.
“I already have a couple of buildings I'm looking at out in Crockery Township,” she said. “It will still happen. I'm going to turn that outcome into a positive thing. It's something that's just so needed. I got the idea, I got the plan — I just need to find the building.”