Leis Pets will be going forward with expansion at 2411 Gerber Road, where the Wellesley pet store plans to develop a veterinary clinic, with township council this week clearing the way.
In a vote Tuesday night, councillors approved the zone change – to D1 (dry industrial) from agricultural – needed to accommodate the store’s growth.
However, the motion met with resistance from Mayor Ross Kelterborn, who expressed concerns after receiving a letter from a local resident, who hoped the new land would conform to the restrictions on the already-existing property.
These restrictions would include limitations on odour, dust, smoke, noise, fumes, vibration, and refuse matter; prohibition from becoming an abattoir or storing bulk products outside the main building; and from milling, graining, and refining operations.
The change in designation may leave the door open for milling operations, should Leis Pets choose to head in that direction – too much of a risk for Kelterborn.
Such a scenario is unlikely to occur, according to Pet Leis representatives at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“We have no bulk products in our business, it’s a wholesale business, all packaged goods,” said John Lichty, a member of the ownership group purchasing the land. “We don’t do any milling or any mixing … and we have no intention of milling.”
Lichty added that Leis Pets was unlikely to become involved with any milling, but “10 years from now there may be a kind of milling or mixing that might be appropriate for our intended use if markets develop.”
Kelterborn hoped to persuade council and Pet Leis representatives that the restrictions placed on the original Leis Pets building might be applied to the new land – or, if not, that further studies be conducted for regulations if the property were used for milling. “Specifically: How much noise? What’s the decibel level that is allowed? What is the odour?” said Kelterborn.
“Details such as how to deal with noise, odour, dust, fire, typically come into play at the site plan control stage,” said Sarah Peck, the township junior planner who prepared the memo. “We don’t typically ask for those studies upfront, because at this point, the applicants don’t really know what they are going to apply for.”
Members of council pointed out that milling was not necessarily an issue.
“It’s a zoning change. What happens after is something to be dealt with at that time,” said Coun. Jim Olender. “This does not give a carte blanche.”
“It’s seems to me we’re putting the cart before the horse,” said Coun. Herb Neher. “All we’re doing here is really to pass the D1. Whatever comes out of this, then we deal with that particular thing.”
Responded Kelterborn, “I tend to disagree. … When we did the zoning on the other property, there were site-specific things that were not allowed, and that’s what the person who has written this letter wants to be done for this piece of property.”
The motion passed in a 4-1 vote, with Kelterborn the sole dissenter.