Appeal lodged in pet kennel application

Best Friends Total Pet Care’s application to open a veterinary hospital/kennel in Wilton at 213 Danbury Road faced another night of resistance and scrutiny June 27, and Dr. Ralph Hunt of Wilton Hospital for Animals next door at 215 Danbury Road is appealing a floor area ratio variance granted to the project last week.

"I handed an appeal to the state marshal today," Hunt's attorney Alan Spirer said at the meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission Monday.

Best Friends was granted the variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals June 20. It allowed planners to increase the floor area ratio of the already nonconforming structure.

"In terms of the impact on this application, it doesn't stop the presses, but what it does do is create a great deal of uncertainty for the applicant and for this commission, because if that appeal is sustained, and we have every reason to believe it will be because it's very difficult to get a variance past the superior court, then any special permit issued by this commission will become problematic," Spirer said.

Spirer and Hunt attended two previous Planning and Zoning meetings to express their concerns. Hunt mostly worries that dogs staying at Best Friends will "communicate" with the dogs at his practice.

"I'm telling you," Hunt said June 27, "even if a dog was out there alone, having some other dog so close is going to create a chorus that you are not going to be able to do much about."

Spirer's argument is that Section 29-4.F. of Wilton's Zoning Regulations makes Best Friends' plan illegal.

As he put it at the Planning and Zoning Commission on June 13, "It’s our position that they cannot use the site for a special permit, because a special permit requires compliance with each and every one of your regulations, and Section 29-4.F. says you can’t increase a nonconformity, even with a variance.”

Also prolonged because commissioners want more information about potential contamination resulting from the physical and liquid waste of the animals, the hearing was continued so that town counsel's legal opinion regarding Hunt's appeal can be sought.

"In addition to the areas of information that we still need, I think that we need town counsel to be involved," Chair Sally Poundstone said.