Canine Controversy: Planned Dog Show Facility Concerns Some Neighbors

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The Capital City Canine Club wants to bring the kind of "dog agility" events it now hosts at a YMCA camp to a former farm field in Williamstown Township.

"We currently are nomads," club member Keith Eldred said. "We wanted a place where we could practice year-round."

So the group bought land along Zimmer Road, just south of Germany Road in the township. It plans to build an indoor facility of up to 80,000 square feet over time. The building and surrounding land would host training during the week and shows on some weekends, drawing 50 to 175 dogs.

"A course set up in the field with jumps and tunnels, things like that," Eldred explained.

But in order to develop the land, the club needs a special use permit from the township.

"We want to make sure we have all the concerns of the residents addressed," township Supervisor Mickey Martin told us.

And some residents do have concerns. Bob Farrier lives across the road from the planned site.

"It just doesn't add to the neighborly, residential quiet neighborhood," Farrier said.

Neighbors brought their concerns before the township planning commission Tuesday night.

Like Farrier, Pat Haynes questions whether the dog facility fits with the township's rural character and its master plan for the land.

"It belongs in the Grand River corridor," Haynes said.

Neighbors also expressed concern about the size of the buliding and the traffic it could draw. But the group says the events will be largely quiet. And it did have a few supporters at the meeting.

"I've been to a dog show," Craig Campbell told commissioners. "My neighbors dogs bark a lot more than all the dogs in the show."

Whether those shows will ever take place on the land is now up to the plan commission, which will likely make a recommendation in February, and eventually, the township board. Board trustees are expected to make a final decision in March.