Planning panel denies Needy Paws facility


By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The St. Louis County Planning Commission voted 5-0 Jan. 9 to deny a dog rescue and boarding facility in Affton.

Needy Paws Rescue, a volunteer nonprofit organization that rescues dogs from kill shelters and takes in strays and surrendered pets in the area, is seeking a conditional use permit to have administrative offices, with minimal overnight boarding, at 8923 Gravois Road, at the corner of Mathilda Avenue. The building is a former residence now zoned for commercial use.

At the proposal’s public hearing in December, Lora Pappas, executive director and Needy Paws owner, said the building would be used for administration, meetings and volunteer training, and would also be used as a holding place for rescued dogs until they can be placed in foster homes.

The proposal called for no set hours of operation, with volunteers coming and going throughout the day to take care of the animals. There would be no 24-hour staff and dogs would be left overnight under the supervision of security cameras, as well as volunteers living nearby in case of emergency.

At the commission’s Jan. 9 executive session, planning staff recommended denial of the petition on the basis that it did not meet the “four-prong conditional use permit test.” 

“The unsupervised overnight boarding of animals is not desirable for public health, welfare and safety at this location,” Staff said. “The proposed use could be a detriment to the permitted developments in the surrounding areas, specifically the residential area to the north of the site.”

Additional recommendations from staff stated the proposed use was not consistent with good planning practices, since most of the required parking would be on Mathilda Avenue.