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Dog Kennel Impacts On Property Values

The day after the board approved allowing a dog kennel in a residential zone, a house down the street fell out of escrow with an offer reduction of $180K directly due to the FOAC conditional use permit (CUP) approval.

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, our board conducted a Public Hearing to consider: Friends of the Animal Community, Conditional Use Permit CUP23-004, to allow the development and operation of a 5,000± square foot dog/cat rescue and kennel boarding facility on a 5.13± acre parcel zoned RE-5 (Residential Estate, Five Acre Minimum) under Title 17 of the Tuolumne County Ordinance Code.

The only place a dog kennel is allowed without a CUP is in a heavy industrial zone (M-2).

Of main concern to me was Finding E: The proposed project will not be substantially detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of persons residing or working in the neighborhood of such proposed use, or be substantially detrimental or injurious to property and improvements in the neighborhood.

I believe I am the only board member with a real estate license (license is pending issuance by DRE), but you don’t need a real estate license to know location is everything. When purchasing a home don’t buy in a bad location where there is a lot of noise, such as near a freeway, train tracks, or, in this case, a dog kennel with outdoor dog runs. The noise concern is so relevant that real estate professionals are required to disclose this to buyers.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, 23 of the 24 property owners felt their general welfare was at stake in part because property values would decrease, which would in turn cause injury to their property and thus be detrimental to their welfare.

In addition to the residents’ concerns, data about property value and impacts were presented. A local real estate agent advised the board he would have to disclose the potential noise issue to buyers. Secondly, a local resident presented a survey through the Tuolumne County Association of Realtors. The survey asked several questions to local real estate agents and some of their clients (in full disclosure, I did not participate in this survey). Almost 100% of respondents advised they would pay significantly less for property next to a 40-dog rescue kennel.

After hearing these concerns and others, I voted no on the CUP. I felt Finding E’s threshold was not met and that a yes decision would be detrimental, injuring the neighboring property owners’ finances and causing harm to their general welfare. I would have voted yes if there was more local residential support. The rest of the board respectfully disagreed, at which point I requested a condition of approval be that the site be tested for noise after being built, to which the board respectfully disagreed.

On Wednesday, the day after our decision, I was advised (and later confirmed) there was a home for sale down the street that was in escrow. The sellers had to disclose the kennel was in discussions. The potential buyers attended the board meeting and, after our decision, pulled their offer and resubmitted an offer for $180K less, which resulted in the property falling out of escrow. The young family who was planning to move out of state with their young children can no longer pursue the dreams they have been working towards for years. I would call that a violation of Finding E.

I have received pushback from the community for my no-vote. The majority have not taken the time to research the full content of what I said and why; therefore, I hope this provides some clarity. Finally, you can watch the board comments by reviewing the link (1:30 appointment #2) at video time 4:08:58. Finally, I will create a short Facebook video once this blog has been posted via media. https://tuolumneco.granicus.com/player/clip/835?view_id=5&redirect=true

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