South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Planning Commission upholds recommendation of denial for pet rescue

Commission concerned with overnight boarding, noise

A petition for a dog rescue boarding facility and administrative offices was again denied by the St. Louis County Planning Commission this month.

The commission voted 7-0 at its executive session July 10 to uphold its recommendation of denial of a conditional use permit for Needy Paws Rescue, a volunteer nonprofit that rescues dogs from kill shelters and takes in strays and surrendered pets. Needy Paws is seeking a CUP in a C-2 zoned shopping district to have administrative offices with minimal overnight boarding at 8923 Gravois Road, at the corner of Mathilda Avenue next to Federhofer’s Bakery. The property, located in the 5th County Council District, is a former residence now zoned for commercial use.

A public hearing was first held on the petition in December 2022, and the commission recommended denial of the request in January, citing concerns about parking, overnight pet boarding and noise. In March, the St. Louis County Council referred the petition back to the commission for reconsideration.

The original proposal from Needy Paws said there would be no set hours of operation, with volunteers coming and going throughout the day to take care of the animals, with no dedicated 24-hour staff. Dogs would have been left overnight under the supervision of security cameras. The facility would primarily be used for offices and volunteer training, with the thought that it can also be used for overflow boarding if the need arises. No more than six dogs would be there at a time, typically for not longer than two weeks or until they are placed in a foster home.

Following the council’s referral, the Department of Planning met with the petitioner in March to address some of the concerns of the commission. To alleviate some of those parking concerns, the petitioner agreed not to park the Needy Paws van on site overnight or for extended periods throughout the day. Additionally, the petitioner agreed to a full-time live-in caretaker that would be on hand overnight so no dogs are left in the facility unsupervised for extended periods of time.

As far as potential noise issues, the County Council recommended plantings along the property’s fence line to mitigate noise. Any dogs at the facility would be let out four times a day, in 15-minute intervals with only three dogs out at any given time. Dogs would not be let out later than 8:30/9:30 p.m.

Despite the petitioner agreeing to alleviate some of the planning panel’s concerns, commissioners were still not convinced of the appropriateness of the request.

“So there could be eight 15-minute intervals, or two hours a day with three dogs outside (at a time),” Commissioner Sandy Hancock questioned.

“I’m in disagreement. I can’t see putting this next to Federhofer’s Bakery … those two just don’t seem compatible,” Commissioner Wayne Hilzinger said.

Commissioner Bill Sneed echoed his fellow commissioners’ comments.

“There’s no way that this can really be policed. … If we approve it, then people have to live with it. And I do think our decision, when we last voted for denial – nothing has really changed in my mind from these things,” he said. “I think it’s not a bright use of that property by the neighbors and the bakery.”

After some further discussion, the commission voted to uphold its original recommendation of denial. 

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