City Paper Widget

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Long-delayed Dog Daycare at Florida and 14th Moves Forward

A long struggle to open a dog daycare facility on the ground floor of the View 14 apartment building (2303 14th Street NW, at the corner of Florida Avenue) appears headed toward a successful conclusion. The aspiring proprietors had to engage in a multi-year struggle to change DC zoning. In addition, they also had a conflict over the name of the new establishment, which was very similar to a local pet care organization of long standing.

From Doozy Dog's submission to DC zoning authorities
The establishment has changed its name -- it will now be called "Doozy Dog". This name was arrived at after much research, the management team told a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street. The research could uncover no establishment with this similar name, not only here in the DC area, but indeed anywhere in the US, a team from Doozy Dog told ANC1B's Zoning, Preservation and Development Committee on March 16.

Doozy Dog is the first branch east of the Mississippi for a Los Angeles-based chain of dog daycare facilities known elsewhere as Citydog! Club. When it first appeared before a committee of ANC1B over a year ago asking for zoning relief -- see SALM blog post of December 18, 2013 -- it used this name. Shortly afterward, a local business called City Dogs Daycare, Dupont Circle-based and open since 1999, objected to the new establishment's name -- see SALM blog post of January 6, 2014. The dispute seemed to lead to the decision to change the name of the local branch of the chain.

In addition to changing the name, the proprietors and their attorneys were involved in a successful effort to change DC zoning requirements regarding pet boarding, grooming, and care businesses. As a result, it is no longer required that such an establishment be at least 25 feet from a residence. Another revision to zoning regulations now allows pet care establishments to open in the basement of a mixed-use buildings as a "matter-of-right", that is, without needing any zoning relief.

In addition, the former requirement that such an establishment be in a "sound-proof building" was relaxed -- instead, the establishment must show it will produce no "noise objectionable to residential units" in the same building or nearby buildings. A similar relaxation of standards was made in regard to odor.

With all these problems solved, Doozy Dog is now ready to take the final steps. These involve obtaining an officially-blessed revision of a 2006 Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement that allowed the View 14 building to be built in the first place. This revision will allow Doozy Dog to open without seeking further zoning relief.

Representatives of Doozy Dog allowed that applying for a revision of a PUD so long after the initial agreement was "unusual".

The ANC committee heard the case for the planned revision of the PUD. The proprietors and their attorney reviewed some details of their planned operation, including disposal of animal waste. Parking was also discussed -- there will be a 15-minute drop-off zone. No other parking mitigation is planned. The proprietors expected most of their customers would come on foot.

The committee voted unanimously to endorse the proposed revision to the PUD. The committee's recommendation will go the full ANC for approval. It will probably be on the agenda of the next scheduled meeting of the full ANC on April 2. The meeting will be at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets) and is scheduled to start at 6:30pm -- 30 minutes earlier than usual.

A hearing before DC zoning authorities on this case is scheduled for April 20. There was no mention at the meeting of when Doozy Dog was planning to open.

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