Doggy day care proposal to be toned down

By Christina Luick

Aug. 20, 2019

 A vacant schoolhouse at Lakefield and Port roads is the site for a proposed doggy day care center.
Photo by Mark Justesen

GRAFTON — People gathered at a town of Grafton Plan Commission meeting Aug. 7 to speak at a public hearing against a conditional use permit petition for a doggy day care center at a vacant Grafton schoolhouse.

The 1846 schoolhouse, 1206 Lakefield Road, has been vacant for a number of years. Town Chairman Lester Bartel said it was a residence before it became the Chiselled Grape Winery in 2011. The winery then moved to Cedarburg in 2013.

“We made no decision on it that night because they want to go back and look (at it),” Bartel said. “... Quite frankly it was far in excess in what they planned to do at any time and it kind of scared some of the neighbors because of numbers and so on.”

The proposal was made by Bill Schaut, who is from the town of Grafton.

The idea that was presented was to have the day care center be able to hold up to 30 dogs. There are some residential quarters in the building and Bartel said the plan was for the Schauts to let their son live there as well, adding that the zoning code allows residential ownership to live in a business in that district.

William Grunwald, who lives on River Bend Road, attended the public hearing to speak against the doggy day care center.

“We have other neighbors near us that have barking dogs and that is a nuisance in itself and needs to be reported more,” he said. “I just don’t want to have any other areas where we’re going to have more barking dogs.”

Grunwald said people who attended the meeting said they did not receive a notice for the public hearing. The town ordinance requires every property owner within 500 feet of the parameters of the subject property to receive a written notice of a public hearing.

“That’s been clarified. No mistake was made,” Bartel said, adding that only one property was within the 500 feet and the owner was notified.

Grunwald referenced a section in an ordinance for the town of Grafton regarding barking dogs who are a public nuisance to be in violation of this when two formal written complaints are filed with the town within a four-week period.

“I said to everyone present at the meeting that, to me, you’re doing a disservice to this person requesting to do this,” Grunwald said, adding that Schaut would be spending money to create the day care center and then receive complaints. “I couldn’t see allowing them to have it in the first place and go through this anguish.”

“Dog ordinances are black and white but the world exists in various shades of gray,” Bartel said when asked about this particular section in the ordinance. “When you investigate a complaint like that you have to look at it objectively.”

Bartel said Schaut will “tone down” the application to be more reasonable and return to the commission.

“They’d like to meet with some of the neighbors personally and talk to them and answer their questions,” he said.