The owners of Apple Valley's Dog Day Getaway dog daycare and boarding business are looking to expand their pet-care services, and hope to build a new facility in Apple Valley to do so.
City planners on Wednesday presented an initial sketch plan for the Apple Valley Planning Commission's review. Initial plans show an 8,000-square-foot building and a 900-square-foot outdoor "pet relief" area proposed for 1.3 acres of land west of and southeast of 150th Street West and Foliage Avenue, in the Hillcrest Acres development.
Dog Day Getaway—the only dog daycare facility in Apple Valley, Associate City Planner Kathy Bodmer said—has been in a 6,000-square-foot facility at 146th Street West and Galaxie Avenue for seven years, co-owner Nicole Lushine told the commission. Maximum capacity is 80 dogs.
While the business isn't at capacity every day, the facility averages 60 to 70 dogs per day, Lushine said; on busy weekends, staff have to turn away clients. She and co-owner Carey Griffith Edwards have been looking for places to relocate to for more than a year, hoping to accommodate up to 120 dogs at a time and expand services to include training classes, grooming and retail.
“We’re trying to do something that’s a little more upscale,” Lushine said, noting her desire for appealing outer aesthetics as well.
Commissioners asked questions about sanitation of the outdoor pet relief area, noise and location. The property is in a wellhead protection area, is about 750 feet away from residential properties to the south and is zoned for retail use.
For sanitation, public works staff recommended that the property be connected to city sewer, Bodmer said.
“We feel … with proper disposal of waste … there would be no issues,” Lushine said, citing studies done in other areas with dog facilities. She said in seven years of business, nobody has filed complaints about sanitation, smell or noise.
She said despite proximity to other businesses and residential neighborhoods, building a taller, solid fence to block the dogs' view would ensure noise is not an issue. Commissioner Paul Scanlan also asked whether the building could include features to keep sound from escaping.
Commissioner David Schindler said a dog daycare facility wasn't what he was looking for as a business for the proposed location.
"I’d like to see this whole west side be something that’s a little more friendly," he said, mentioning restaurants and other traditional retail opportunities. “I just think it’s basically going to seal the fate of the rest of that west.”
Community Development Director Bruce Nordquist said all the sites looked at for the new facility are in retail zones. The zoning does not specifically accommodate pet daycare, veterinary services or even children's daycare, which is why a zoning ordinance amendment would be required if the project moved ahead.
Lushine said she thought the site was "a great fit" for the expansions she and Edwards have in mind, which would include more services and products in the style of other pet-care retail stores. Boarders purposefully come to Dog Day Getaway from many surrounding areas, but the location would make the facility visible to attract more clients for daycare.
While Apple Valley has less room for expansion than places like Eagan or Burnsville, Lushine said the convenient location for daycare is attractive.
“Visibility is huge in our success, as well as the convenience,” she said.
The commission also recommended a master plan, zoning amendment and building permit for the , including a 40-bed transitional care unit, a building with 64 units of assisted living and 32 units for dementia care, a 37-unit senior apartment building and a 124-unit independent living building with a wellness center.
Augustana already has senior apartments and a long-term nursing home care center east of Garrett Avenue and a little north of 147th Street West. The new buildings would expand onto the six adjacent acres of land Augustana bought in December, which extends the property south to 147th.
The first building constructed would be the transitional care facility. The recommendations will go to the Apple Valley City Council.