Furkids, Inc. is now allowed to take its dogs outside after a ruling by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on Thursday.
In addition to being able to take the dogs outside within their fenced-in property during normal business hours, the no-kill dog shelter on Union Hill Road will increase its max capacity from 40 dogs to 65.
Furkids had asked the commission to reduce the restrictions placed on the property in 2005 by a previous comfmission when the facility was under different ownership due to complaints from the nearby Gates at McGinnis Ferry office park about excessive noise and smells.
After purchasing the property in 2013, Furkids has invested over $400,000 into the facility and the neighbors have taken notice. Representatives from the Gates at McGinnis Ferry and Furkids were able to come to an agreement on all the terms of except for one, which is why this decision was delayed from the meeting on March 2.
The question was that if Furkids should sell the property, would these new conditions transfer to the new owners. Furkids wants them to in order to make the property an easier sell should the time come. Gates at McGinnis Ferry does not due to the concern that new ownership would bring back the same issues that caused the property to have such tight restrictions in the first place.
The compromise was to keep all the new conditions intake, but to reduce them maximum number of dogs back to 40 for the new owners.
This gave pause to District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson as she stated that it would be easier to have the new conditions expire in the event of a transfer of ownership and to have the new owners come in front of the commission and request whatever conditions they would like the commission to consider for approval.
"You do not want these conditions to go away," said Ethan Underwood, the representative for Furkids, referring to the conditions allowing dogs to go outside among other things.
Semanson argued that the next owner may not want to use the property as a kennel so retaining these conditions could be irrelevant.
"The very reason that there was contention at the beginning of this desire for expansion was because it is so out of character for what's going on there," Semanson said.
Neither side could reach an agreement, so District 2 Commissioner Rick Swope, in whose district Furkids is located, stepped in.
"We're 99 percent of the way there," Swope said. "There are a number of very important considerations that have been agreed upon which can take effect and benefit the operation very quickly."
Swope asked Underwood if it would be agreeable to approve all the conditions with the exception of the clause that states whether or not the conditions will transfer with ownership, and then to revisit that clause sometime in the future in a separate application.
"Respectfully, I can't consent," Underwood said. "But we will defer to the commission's judgement."
The judgement of the commission was an unanimous approval of all the conditions with the exception of the clause regarding transfer of ownership.