Manlius Planning Board considers luxury kennel

Man's best friend may soon be living a five-star lifestyle in Central New York.

Diane Blanchfield, who has been training dogs for about 20 years, is proposing to build the state's first luxury dog daycare and boarding facility in the town of Manlius.

"It's a new idea," said Fred Gilbert, chairman of the town of Manlius Planning Board. "I have never heard of something so elaborate for boarding dogs, but I think there is a lot of demand for a service like that here."

Paws at White Cross Farm is the name of the proposed boarding facility with room for 100 dogs on a 20-acre parcel of land on East Seneca Turnpike. It would include an indoor, private suite for each dog; large, fenced play yards and a bone-shaped wading pool, according to the proposal by Blanchfield, who worked for two years at a similar facility in Charlotte, N.C., where she currently resides.

Blanchfield said these facilities provide a great service for people who do not want to leave their dogs alone while they are at work during the day or in kennels when they travel. Blanchfield said she hopes to have the same success that other luxury boarding facilities have experienced.

The planning board, which must give its recommendation for or against this project to the Manlius Town Board, expressed a number of concerns about the project's possible effects on the area during its Jan. 28 meeting.

"The two main issues are traffic and noise," Gilbert said.

The planning board members expressed their concerns about the possibility of heavy traffic during daycare drop-off and pick-up.

However, the bulk of the discussion of this project involved the issue of noise.

During her presentation, Blanchfield tried to address the noise concern by explaining how much more quiet a noise becomes as distance increases, by providing testimony from similar facilities about the noise level, and by arguing that certain natural features and the existing barn would help block and absorb the noise.

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