Commission hears plan for dog daycare

The+Watering+Bowls+proposed+location+on+Worthington+Drive.

Photo by Lucas Irizarry

The Watering Bowl’s proposed location on Worthington Drive.

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

The Watering Bowl, a dog daycare in South County, had a St. Louis County Planning Commission public hearing Oct. 18 for its proposed move to an abandoned concrete factory at 12525 Worthington Drive, and the request was met with some pushback from neighbors.

The old location at the corner of Lemay Ferry and South Lindbergh Boulevard was approved as a QuikTrip earlier this year, forcing the Watering Bowl out. That location was the first of its four current locations. The business is staffed 24/7 and provides daycare, overnight visits and training for dogs. Dogs can walk in and out freely within fenced areas.

The plan for the abandoned factory requires a change from R-2 15,000 square foot Residence District to C-8 Planned Commercial District. The main building on the site would remain, with any silos or fuel tanks removed during construction. The site plan includes 21 parking spots, a grass yard, fencing and vegetation. The main building is estimated at around 10,000 feet, double the old location.

Owner Jeremy King said he has fixed up a similar site in Dog Grove, near the Science Center, and thinks it would be a big improvement to the spot versus an overgrown and abandoned factory.

“I believe I’ve been told it’s been empty now for 10 years and I think we can all agree it’s a bit of an eyesore,” King said. “Our location in Dog Grove … was in very similar shape and I think we did a pretty good job bringing it back to life and making it something the area can be proud of as opposed to something they would not prefer to look at.”

Several citizens living in neighboring subdivisions were not convinced the Watering Bowl would be an improvement on the abandoned lot, most commonly citing noise, smell and traffic concerns and the possible drop in property value if those occur.

Martha Wagner said the amount of dogs expected at the location — between 75 and 140 — is far too many for a residential area.

“It should be out in the countryside or an industrial place, not across from a subdivision, apartments or other condominiums. How do you control barking dogs all during the night?” Wagner said.

King said noise concerns are common when building a new location, but in the 12 years since he founded the company he has only had one real complaint. 

“It’s important to me that we are a good neighbor to people — the last thing I want to do is come in and be the jerk across the street,” King said. “If I really thought we were going to be a nuisance, I wouldn’t be coming here because I realize at that point I’m asking for trouble for myself.”

He said all areas would be staffed 24/7 and since the dogs are outside playing and running around all day, there is never any noise at night since they are so tired. The dogs sleep inside and the main building has thick concrete walls that stop most noise. Poop would be taken offsite twice a week and stored indoors, so smell wouldn’t be an issue according to King.

One of the biggest concerns citizens mentioned was the traffic in the area. They said it is already busy and the addition of people picking up dogs everyday would only aggravate the situation. 

“Traffic is a big concern because people cut through our residential area to avoid traffic on Mattis Road,” Maria Bonastia said. “It is a private street … and they cut through our subdivision, so this will create even more traffic.”

The commission will vote whether to recommend approval or denial of the proposal in the next two weeks at an executive meeting.