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Manlius: Dog facility plan draws growls

It was no typical board meeting. The Manlius Town Board had five public hearings set for March 26; one of which drew more than 75 people to the town hall on Brooklea Drive. The subject? A proposed luxury dog daycare and boarding facility was asking for a special permit. The problem? Residents were concerned over alleged noise, traffic and devaluation of property.

Diane Blanchfield, a fomer DeWitt native who currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., wants to own and operate her own pet boarding facility on East Seneca Turnpike in Manlius. She is asking the town board for a special permit that will allow her to take action.

A rural area, Paws at White Cross Farm would be housed on a 20-acre parcel of land, the majority of which would remain unused. Two to three acres would be utilized to make room for up to 100 dogs, yet the average occupancy for these types of facilities is 50 percent, Blanchfield said in her presentation.

The building, designed to have a farmhouse look to keep with the neighborhood character, is nothing like a traditional kennel.

"Most communities are wary of the traditional kennel style with chain link and outdoor runs," she said in an interview after the public hearing. "These new facilities are clean, bright and soundproof with amenities such as individual indoor suites, webcams and sophisticated air filtration systems that keep them fresh and clean."

Blanchfield emphasized that additional sound mitigating measures would be taken including landscaping, fencing, hours of operation and being positioned 350 feet from the road and "even further from any neighboring home."

Some residents, however, are not convinced their area is a good fit for such a business. During public comment time, many people came forward to voice their opposition.

"I don't want to share my well with 100 dogs," said Hale Road resident Sam Alpert, who is concerned over sanitation.

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