Temporary variance granted for dog groomer

The city of Dunkirk’s Zoning Board of Appeals has paved the way for the relocation of a business to the city – at least temporarily.

A six-month trial period has been granted for a dog grooming business seeking to operate out of a one-family home on Sixth Street in Dunkirk. Nicholas Anson, owner of 149 W. Sixth St. in the city, filed the appeal with the ZBA after the request was turned down by Building and Zoning Officer Allan Zurawski for being in violation of City Code Chapter 79, which deals with zoning regulations.

The proposed use would be in violation due to its location in an R-2 general residential district. Parking was another issue Zurawski cited in denying permission for the business.

Both Anson and Dressed to Impress Doggie Spa owner Jeanette Genthner, who along with her children lives at the residence with Anson, addressed the ZBA.

Anson said the business would be located at the back of the house, be open Tuesday through Saturday, appointments are made six weeks in advance and there would be no boarding of dogs. It would be one dog in, one dog out, with clients on site for five to 10 minutes, according to Anson.

Genthner was then called to testify and said Anson’s statements were accurate.

“As far as barking, I’ve been grooming dogs for 22 years and I can’t stand barking,” she added. “Barking is definitely an issue for us, the dogs on the property are kept busy the whole time. … Very quick in and out.”

Opposed to the variance was David Ebert, whose mother lives across the street at 144 W. Sixth St., property he and James Ebert own. Ebert said there was no shortage of commercial property available in the city. He also had concerns about his mother backing out of the driveway, but added with the explanation of customer flow, that wasn’t as bad as he had expected.

“It’s one of the nicest areas in Dunkirk still. … It’s just the fact it is a residential area … and I believe it should stay that way,” Ebert stated. “My opposition to it is there are plenty of places she could have a business. I don’t see why it’s got to be in a residential area.”

The ZBA adjourned for deliberations but reconvened to call back Genthner to ascertain her reasons for relocating the business. She said she had always worked from home, opening in South Dayton in 2005 before relocating to Fredonia in October.

“It allows me the flexibility to be home for the kids when they get home from school, summer vacations. This just really works out better for the family for me to work out of the house as opposed to a commercial location,” she added.

In response to a question she said she currently pays $550 per month, but added water and electric bills would go up if she worked at home.

“Absolutely there’s a financial benefit,” she added. “I don’t know how many of you have dealt with the landlord at the pawn shop, but he is very difficult. We have water issues constantly. I had to cancel 16 days of work over the winter because the pipes were frozen up there. It’s been a nightmare situation.

“I knew I needed to find a different place to work, whether it be a different commercial location or this scenario we’re proposing now, one or the other had to happen. This is just the best situation for my kids and my family.”

After further deliberation, the ZBA voted 4-0 to grant the appeal on a six-month trial basis and stated Genthner must comply with all the testimony and information presented. In its findings of fact the ZBA stated it would be a financial benefit to the business and will enhance the family life; the appellant has a financial stake in this property since it is her residence; it will not alter the essential character of the neighborhood and the current location can no longer sustain the business.

After the meeting Genthner said it would take some time before she was ready to open at the Sixth Street location.

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