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Appeal of dog day care, rescue facility in Santa Ynez to be heard by Planning Commission
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Appeal of dog day care, rescue facility in Santa Ynez to be heard by Planning Commission

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission is scheduled to hear two appeals of a minor conditional use permit for a Santa Ynez dog day care and rescue operation when it meets Wednesday.

But the two appellants have asked to have the hearing continued until June, claiming it will be difficult to properly present their cases in the virtual format being used during the coronavirus restrictions.

The applicant is urging the commission to have it held as scheduled, since the permit application was filed more than a year ago.

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Commissioners will have to decide whether to delay or conduct the hearing in their meeting scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

The appeals were filed over a minor conditional use permit granted by the county zoning director for Breann Hollon to operate Hollon’s Hounds commercial dog boarding and day care and nonprofit rescue operation at 1601 Edison St.

The 9.69-acre site is zoned AG-1-10 and surrounded by similar-size properties, many of them with horses and related facilities as well as homes.

As currently planned, the facility would provide “home-style” boarding and a pet retreat for locals and tourists as well as kennels for Milton’s Mutts rescue operations for up to 21 dogs plus three belonging to the owners for a maximum of 24 dogs, according to a report from the County Planning and Development Department.

The dogs would be housed in two existing stables and allowed to run and play in an existing arena. The property also includes a horse barn and a pole barn.

Four employees would live on site in a single-family home and a secondary residence, where the personally owned pets would be housed.

According to the staff report, the county received complaints in March 2019 about an unpermitted dog boarding facility operating at the site and opened a zoning violation case, leading Hollon to apply for a minor conditional use permit to allow boarding up to 54 dogs during the day and 39 overnight.

Those numbers were reduced after the first of two zoning director hearings, during which former tenants Isabelle Gullo and Angela Adan and former employee Valerie Wheeler objected to granting the permit.

Gullo later filed an appeal based on the poor treatment of dogs she and the other two claimed to have witnessed, including a failure to provide food and water on a regular basis, filthy and inadequate housing conditions and lack of adequate supervision.

In her appeal, Gullo said Planning and Development had not consulted with the Animal Control Division before granting the minor CUP.

A second appeal of the permit for Hollon’s Hounds was filed by nearby resident Peter Cheney on the grounds the operation will be detrimental to the comfort, convenience, general welfare, health and safety of the neighborhood, citing noise, waste and fencing inadequate to prevent the dogs from escaping.

Cheney said the operation is incompatible with the neighborhood, which consists primarily of equestrian training and boarding facilities, single-family residences and agricultural lands.

He also claimed that because the property straddles a blue-line creek — a stream marked with a blue line on a topographical map that flows periodically — and dogs would cross it to the exercise area, an environmental review is required.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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