Couple approved to sit pets in house

The Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 12 approved a home-based pet-sitting business for a couple that will call the two-story bungalow at 763 Danbury Road their first home.
The business, Happy Stays LLC, will operate on the first floor while Sarah Marceau and her partner Kyle Wilson live on the second floor.
They promise no more than 12 dogs at night, a maximum of 20 dogs by day, and to keep the place reasonably quiet.
“We’re so happy,” Wilson said after the meeting at the town hall annex, adding they will move in next month and set up the business.
Marceau was asked what type of dogs she takes in, and she said they are mostly small.
“We get a lot of poodles and doodles,” she said, referring to mixed poodle breeds.
The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the use of the residential property for the dog-sitting business, but before a certificate of zoning compliance is issued it stipulated that trees obstructing sight lines adjacent to the driveway access to DanburyRoad must be removed subject to Connecticut Department of Transportation approval.
The couple must also submit a noise analysis report indicating on-site decibel levels, if requested.
The public hearing for the home-based pet care business drew three members of the public last month, mostly in support.
“You should see her in action, she’s like the dog whisperer, those dogs — so quiet and well-behaved. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said her landlord, Holly McCreary, manager of the property.
Approval for the commercial use of a residential property on Danbury Road is not new. A good portion of Danbury Road is zoned for one- or two-acre residential, but in the zoning regulations there is a policy in which older homes or architecturally significant homes can be converted to alternative use if the character of the structure is maintained, according to Town Planner Bob Nerney.
“This regulation has been in place 40 years,” Nerney said in an interview last month. “You see many examples of older homes that have been converted to office service-type businesses.”
The couple currently lives in Westport and takes care of some dogs already, so they have existing customers.
There would be no more than one employee working at a time. Most transportation would be done in-house, during off-peak times. Group pickups and drop-offs would be encouraged so there would be less vehicular emissions and traffic.
“It is to everyone’s benefit to do off-peak trips as to not interfere with traffic, and all steps will be made to do so,” Marceau said in a letter to the commission.
The outdoor dog activities would take place in the back half of the two-acre property, to preserve the appearance of the rolling front yard. There would be fencing.
“It will be held to the utmost visual standards without compromising function and ecological factors such as drainage or impacts to the current ecosystems that exist on the property,” she said.
A related type of business, a kennel, was recently denied for a commercial building on Route 7. Neighbors had voiced concerns over barking dogs and urine runoff.