Former winery OK'd for use as dog day care
Up to 20 dogs to be allowed at once, though that could change

By Melanie Boyung - Special to Conley Media

Oct. 8, 2019

  A fence will eventually be built around this former school house at the intersection of
Port Washington and Lakefield roads.
Photo by Mark Justesen

GRAFTON A new dog day care business slated for the old schoolhouse property in the town of Grafton has received the go-ahead.

The town of Grafton Plan Commission approved a conditional use permit last week for Bill Schaut, who applied to start a dog day care business at 1206 Lakefield Road. The 1846 schoolhouse has been vacant for six years, since the Chiselled Grape Winery moved out of that location to Cedarburg in 2013.

The CUP as approved will eventually allow for up to 20 dogs on the property at one time, with the business providing dog day care, extended stay service and a small area for dog-related retail. Immediately, however, there would be only limited business while the property is renovated.

In Plan Commission discussions, Schaut said previously that his son will live on the property and manage the business. The Port Washington Road business district in the town allows for residence in a business property.

According to the business plan attached to the CUP, the first one to two years will be spent mainly improving the old schoolhouse building and the property. There would be limited extended care for dogs, whether it is for days or weeks, for up to five dogs. In later years, once a 6-foot fence is installed on the property, the business could expand to care for up to 20 dogs.

Later business plans also include adding the dog day care service and retail. There are restrictions on hours of operation, with pickup and dropoff of dogs occurring between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.; dogs will be let outside between 6:30 a.m. and 9 p.m.; and retail will occur between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The application noted dogs may be picked up, dropped off or let out outside of those times due to special circumstances.

Town Chairman and Plan Commissioner Lester Bartel said there were a number of neighbors who voiced concerns about the plan, but the Commission did pass it with conditions, such as business hours and parking requirements. The permit issued this month is limited compared to original proposals.

Schaut originally came to the Plan Commission in August, asking for a permit to allow up to 30 dogs being boarded, as well as dog training, dog-related retail and other services. Dog training and grooming were removed from the application before its approval this month.

In August, many neighbors of the old schoolhouse property spoke against the proposal. Their concerns included noise with so many animals, as well as the safety of area people and children with that many dogs being kept their with vague plans of how the property would be secured.

Schaut and his family then asked for time to reconsider their application, stating that what they asked for was the outer limit of what they imagined the business might someday be, not what they planned to implement immediately.

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