Updated: March 23, 2013 6:24AM
SOUTH ELGIN — Veterinarian Daniel Markwalder says he wants to expand his practice in the village because there is a local demand for boarding kennels that provide veterinary care.
The South Elgin Planning and Zoning Commission agreed this week, approving a special-use permit for both indoor and outdoor kennels, along with an exercise area for the animals, for Markwalder’s Animal Care Clinic at 477 Briargate Drive.
Nearby business owners objected to the plan, saying they were concerned with not only the noise annoyance that barking dogs can create but the smell that might come with a large number of dogs.
Markwalder plans to expand into an open storefront next to his existing animal clinic. The expansion would include 64 interior kennels and 13 exterior kennels. A grassy area behind the businesses would be used for a fenced walk enclosure to give boarded dogs a chance to be outside. Many dogs won’t eliminate unless they are in a grassy area, he said.
In addition to an 8-foot fence, the dog walk would be blocked from the street by an earthen berm and trees, he said.
The outdoor kennels would not be the chain-link fence many associate with kennels but a two-sided, 8-foot picket fence that allows air circulation while still protecting the animals, said Bob Edwards, the project’s architect.
Dogs would not be left in the outdoor runs for more than about 20 minutes at a time, Markwalder said — only while indoor kennels are cleaned and disinfected twice a day. Of concern for some of the planning commissioners was the fact they’d just given a special-use permit to a nearby restaurant allowing outdoor seating.
In reality, Edwards said, a restaurant can cause just as unpleasant sounds and smells as a dog kennel.
He asked for the expansion, Markwalder said, because South Elgin clients have asked for it.
“We have had a number of our clients who have inquired. They want a veterinary supervised kennel for their animals. They have (animals with) unique health needs, arthritis and diabetes … that need supervised care while their owners are away,” he said.
As with advances in human medicine, there has been advances in veterinarian medicine that area allowing animals to live longer with chronic health problems, he said.
But if a hospital smells of human waste, clients would stay away. It is the same for veterinarian care, he said.
“I want to be a good neighbor,” he added. “If there is ever any issues … their concerns are my concerns.”