City Paper Widget

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Citydog! Club First DC Location at 14th and Florida

A committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street voted December 16 to endorse the request for zoning variances necessary for the establishment of a day-care service for dogs on the first floor of a mixed-use building at the corner of 14th Street and Florida Avenue NW. The recommendation of the Design Review Committee will now go to the full ANC for consideration at the next meeting in January.

CityDog! Club seeks to open here
CityDog! Club aims to set up its first franchise east of the Rockies at a building whose address was given variously at the meeting as 2301 and 2303 14th Street. However, the building also has humans living in it, so it needs a handful of zoning adjustments. Specifically, D.C. zoning regulations state animal shelters, animal boarding, and pet grooming establishment shall not abut a residential building. This case is somewhat unusual in that the abutting neighbors are not to the east, west, north, or south of the establishment seeking relief, but above it, i.e., the residents of the second floor apartments.

Presentation to ANC

A team lead by attorney Leila Batties of the law firm of Holland & Knight made the presentation to the committee. Also present were representatives of Citydog! Club and building owner-operator UDR.

Batties reported they had reached out to residents of the building five weeks ago. They had collected 105 signatures of residents saying they had no objection. This is 60 percent of the occupied units. Of the five apartments directly above the proposed canine day-care center, three had signed letters of support, and one apartment is vacant.

The presentation included a comprehensive summary of the planned business's layout and procedures. Half of the area of the business will be rooms for dogs to run around in. Ten percent is for canine sleeping and eating. There will never be more than 50 dogs on the premises at any time, and at most times there will be far fewer. Dogs may be dropped off for long or short periods, regularly or irregularly. Overnight boarding will be possible -- there will be staff on the property overnight to mind the dogs.

The two possible irritants for neighbors of this business will be odor and noise. The presenters demonstrated why they believe their business will be a good neighbor, meaning, the neighbors will not be subject to unpleasant smells or sounds.


Speaking about their experience opening the other branches, one presenter said: "What we learned is -- you can't be too clean."

The entire space will be cleanable and will be cleaned four times a day, the presenters said. Ventilation will be planned so that the air in the establishment will "turn over" eight to twelve times an hour. The presenters also showed  pictures of "Pet-o-Potties" (trade name: "PooPee Patches"), an indoor toilet for dogs. They are raised platforms with grass and a fire hydrant. Each dog "play room" will have one. These will be sanitized throughout the day and will drain directly to the sewer. The grass on the platform will be replaced monthly.


The team brought along a sound consultant from the Polysonics Corporation to explain noise alleviation measures.

The consultant proposed a worst-case scenario. If the establishment was filled to capacity with 50 dogs and they were all barking continuously without stopping, the sound would probably be about 100 decibels (similar to the noise of a hand drill or a power lawnmover at three feet). The seven-inch-thick concrete slab between the first and second floors only alleviates sound up to 80 decibels. So, Citydog! Club will have an additional dropped ceiling, containing two layers of drywall and insulation. These measures taken together, the consultant said, would attenuate sound up to 100 decibels.

The representative of UDR pointed out that, because the company owns and manages both the residential and retail portions of the mixed-use building, it is in their interest to mitigate the noise as completely as possible.

The vote to support Citydog! Club's application was passed unanimously, with one abstention. 

CityDog! Club currently has two locations in the Los Angeles area, and one each in Dallas and Seattle. The first branch was opened two years ago.

The DC branch plans to employ 15 people, about half of them full time. Representatives of Citydog! Club said they planned to hire all staff locally.

The next meeting of ANC1B will be Thursday, January 2 9, 2014, at the Reeves Center, located at the corner of 14th and U Streets. CityDog! Club will want ANC1B's endorsement at that time so they will have it in hand for their scheduled hearing at DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on February 4.

(Photo credit: Google Street View)


  1. any idea when they intend to open?

    1. Sorry, nothing in my notes and I can't recall the topic being mentioned.