Prospective owners of doggie day care centers received a treat from the Medford City Council Thursday when it approved an ordinance designed to make them feel more welcome in the community.
The council approved an exception to the usual 200-foot setback for kennels.
Dog day care centers, a popular business in other areas of the state, will be able to have a minimum 50-foot setback if they can show they won't be a nuisance to surrounding businesses.
The council action comes a little late for Robert Dudley, who tried to open a dog day care center in Medford last year but ran into too much red tape.
Dudley opened House of Paws about six weeks ago at 3960 W. Main St., about a mile outside city limits.
"I couldn't wait around for the city," he said. "I signed a one-year lease where I'm at now."
Dudley had to settle for a location that is farther from town than he would like, but he is hoping to get customers from Jacksonville, Central Point and Medford because of his location.
Dudley found that the city's 200-foot setback would have made it almost impossible for him to open a canine day care center in Medford.
In January, the Medford Planning Commission worried that a dog day care center would generate complaints from nearby businesses.
The planning commissioners said city officials might be setting businesses up for failure if the day care generates noise complaints, particularly if it is situated less than 200 feet from other businesses.
Some of the possible conditions that could be placed on a business to lessen the impacts of a smaller setback include noise-reduction measures, limited hours of operation and careful control of dogs in outdoor exercise yards to avoid excessive barking.
The sound of a dog barking or a baby crying can reach a decibel level of 110 — higher than a stereo at maximum volume but lower than a jet engine, according to a city study. From a distance of 200 feet, the decibel level drops to 64, about twice as noisy as light traffic.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.