Dozens of concerned residents of the Grove Park neighborhood, as well as surrounding areas, packed an Asheville City Hall meeting room Wednesday evening, May 7, to voice concerns over a proposed conditional zoning permit that would allow a canine rehabilitation facility / dog day care to occupy the historic building at 1 Sunset Parkway.
Residents waited patiently for more than two hours while the commission went through a lengthy agenda. People supporting the project and those opposed filled all the seats and spilled out into the hallway as they waited for the opportunity to speak.
In the end, the Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to deny the conditional zoning permit.
The canine rehab center, proposed by Mark Ledyard, veterinarian at the nearby Charlotte Street Animal Hospital, would have housed up to 30 dogs daily and served as a rehabilitation clinic for animals who had been injured, gone through surgery, had neurological problems or other needs. It would also have acted as a “social club” for animals needing attention during the day. No animals would be housed overnight.
Residents of the area cited an array of potential problems with the center, ranging from a lack of parking, canine waste disposal, barking animals, a decrease in property values, increased traffic in the otherwise quiet neighborhood and the “possibly dangerous precedent” of allowing a commercial enterprise into the residential area.
Supporters praised Ledyard’s plan, citing his care for the community and desire to preserve the historical building. Some called the rehab center a great fit for the community and a thoughtful business. Others criticized the opposition movement.
None of the people against the center opposed it on its merits and all said they felt it was a good business plan. Many of the residents opposing it take their own animals to Ledyard at Charlotte Street Animal Hospital and expressed their respect and gratitude for his veterinary skills — but all felt that it would be a bad fit for the neighborhood.
After listening to nearly three hours of testimony from both sides, the commission moved to deny the project on the grounds that it would do harm to the property values and not fit with the character of the neighborhood.