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P&Z Approves SMVDD Zoning For Veterinary Hospital Proposal

Published: February 10, 2018

Following some modifications made by the applicant, Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) members have approved a new set of zoning regulations that would apply only to a property at 94 South Main Street (Route 25), where a local real estate firm is proposing constructing a veterinary hospital, a boarding facility for small animals, and a pet store.

P&Z members voted unanimously February 1 to approve the unique zoning regulations, which will be known as Special Design District-5 (SDD-5) in the South Main Village Design District (SMVDD) overlay zone for the 2.06-acre property. The site currently is zoned R-1 (Residential).

Prithvi Real Estate Management, LLC, is the applicant. Dr Rakesh Vali, the owner/veterinarian at Mt Pleasant Hospital For Animals in Hawleyville, is a principal in Prithvi Real Estate.

The P&Z recently approved a two-lot subdivision at 94 South Main Street, which created the 2.06-acre lot with South Main Street frontage and an adjacent 1.07-acre lot. The 2.06-acre property holds the remains of a former plant nursery. The 1.07-acre property holds a house with access to the residential Greenbriar Lane. The development site is on the southern corner of South Main Street and Greenbriar Lane.

At a January 11 P&Z public hearing, residents living near the site opposed the applicant’s proposal to allow a secondary vehicle entry/exit point for the veterinary facility at Greenbriar Lane. At that session, P&Z members also raised technical issues about some of the then-proposed SDD-5 zoning rules.

Civil engineer Kevin Solli of Solli Engineering, representing the applicant, told P&Z members February 1 that in response to concerns raised at the January 11 session, the proposed SDD-5 rules had been modified by the applicant so that: any secondary land uses at the site in the future, after a veterinary use is discontinued, would be subject to the terms of a “special zoning permit”; any banks or pharmacies that would be allowed as secondary future uses would not be allowed to have drive-through window service; building-mounted business signs facing Greenbriar Lane would be prohibited; and two ground-mounted business signs at the site would be subject to P&Z approval.

The SDD-5 zoning rules that the P&Z approved, in effect, create a regulatory mechanism through which the applicant can seek P&Z approval for a detailed site development plan, which would indicate how the property would be developed. If such a development plan is then approved, the applicant would still need to seek P&Z approval for a change of zone for the site from R-1 to SMVDD/SDD-5 zoning. Additionally, the applicant may need to obtain a wetlands/watercourses permit, when considering that the site holds a pond.

At the February 1 P&Z public hearing, Barbara Kugler of 12 Greenbriar Lane said that the development site is too small for any drive-through facility. Such a drive-through would pose a safety hazard to children living in the area, she said.

Also, Ms Kugler warned P&Z members of the difficulties and delays that motorists encounter when attempting to make a left turn from Greenbriar Lane to head northward on the heavily traveled South Main Street. “The corner is extremely busy,” she said.

Ms Kugler stressed her opposition to allowing any secondary vehicular access to the proposed veterinary complex at Greenbriar Lane.
Families are considering moving away from the neighborhood in light of the proposed commercial development, she said.

Following the public hearing’s closure, P&Z member Jim Swift said he likes the several revisions that the applicant had made to the proposed SDD-5 zoning regulations.

P&Z member Corinne Cox said she would like to have the architecture of a veterinary complex be in harmony with local architecture. Mr Solli has said that such a complex could be roughly 15,000 square feet in area.

P&Z members then unanimously voted to approve the SDD-5 zoning regulations, finding that the rules are consistent with the 2014 Town Plan of Conservation and Development and with the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr Solli said that Prithvi Real Estate would submit a site development plan this month in seeking the P&Z’s approval for the project. The project is known as Pleasant Paws.

The SMVDD zoning process allows applicants to propose customized zoning regulations that are tailored to an individual property’s development or redevelopment. The P&Z created the SMVDD zoning regulations in 2007 to foster economic development that is in harmony with New England architecture along the four-mile-long South Main Corridor.


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