A dispute between a Hilton Head Island businesswoman who wants to open a dog kennel and a church whose members don't want the business near their property caused a town panel to delay a vote Tuesday.
The Design Review Board postponed a decision on construction plans for the Red Rover Inn, which would open in a vacant building that shares a driveway and parking lot with the Church of Christ on Hilton Head Island. The proposed business has drawn fire from congregation members who say dogs will be heard -- and smelled -- on church grounds.
Review board members said the church and kennel need to solve a dispute before a decision is made on the business' construction plans.
Specifically, the church argues the kennel needs review from a private architectural board before it gains town approval.
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Projects in certain jurisdictions, such as Sea Pines or Shelter Cove, are subject to such a review before the town weighs in, land-management ordinance official Teri Lewis said.
It is unclear if the board that would review the kennel is still in existence, she said.
Construction plans for the kennel, in part, call for a 6-foot-tall privacy fence to cordon an area for dogs to relieve themselves, and to stop them from seeing and barking at passers-by. A wall that resembles the existing building would block off the part of the fence that faces the church and conceal dog runs.
Paige Grisette, who owns Red Rover dog-grooming service on New Orleans Road, said the fence at her new business would keep the sound and smell of the dogs contained to the site. She also said renovations inside the building would limit noise.
Chester Williams, an attorney for the church, disagreed.
"We all know (the fence) won't contain noise," he told the panel. "It may limit it, but it won't contain it. And how will they contain smell from waste?"
He also took issue with waste stations outside the fence.
"Clearly, they anticipate dog feces on property in areas outside the fence," he said.
The dog kennel designer, Hilton Head architect Don Baker, said the stations are for dogs getting dropped off or picked up. Nearby plastic bags would make it easy for owners to immediately dispose of waste, he said.
The dispute started earlier this year when the church appealed a town Board of Zoning Appeals' decision to allow Grisette an exemption to open the kennel. Attorneys for the church argue, for instance, that the vacant building is too large in relation to the property on which it sits to house a dog kennel.
Construction can't start until a decision on that appeal is made Sept. 15 by Beaufort County Master-In-Equity Marvin Dukes, according to town land-management ordinance official Teri Lewis.
If construction plans need approval from a private review board, the town Design Review Board could vote on the kennel at its Aug. 26 meeting, Lewis added.
Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.