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Thread: Vet Emergency Clinic

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hudson River Valley
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    48

    Vet Emergency Clinic

    We have an applicant who wants to open an emergency clinic for animals. The clinic will be owned in common by regional vets and will only be open when the regular clinics are closed (weekends and overnight). The emergency clinic is to be located in a zone that does not permit "veterinary hospitals or kennels", which seems to me to be the closest use to the proposed use. However, the applicant is challenging this based on the following points:

    1. Our zoning does not contain a definition of veterinary hospital or kennel.
    2. The applicant says that the industry defines emergency clinic as different from a veterinary hospital.
    3. The proposed vet er will not have kenneling facilities, something a vet hospital usually does have.
    4. In the past, human outpatient facilities have been permitted in this district (which does allow professional offices) although human hospitals are not permitted in the district.

    I think think this whole line of reasoning is silly, and to top it all off, the proposed location is completely inappropriate for this type of use. However, the applicant will not take no for an answer and are now appealing to the ZBA. So I am appealing to all of you - can anyone help me bolster my argument that this use is in fact closer to a vet hospital than a doctors office or outpatient clinic with humans as patients? Or, if I am completely crazy and the applicant is the sane one, please tell me so before I have to go to the ZBA?

    Thanks very very much.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Dennis, MA
    Posts
    197
    Lots of thoughts and questions. First does your zoning by-law include the statement "Any use not specifically enumerated in a district shall be deemed to be prohibited"? If so, they would seem to be fighting a losing battle to argue that it is not an animal hospital and is some other use that is not delineated in your zoning by-law.

    We define an animal hospital as follows:

    "(7) ANIMAL HOSPITAL A place where animals are given medical or surgical treatment by or under the supervision of a veterinarian and boarding is short-term care incidental to hospital use and care."

    The new Planners Dictionary suggests the following definitions:

    "■ animal hospitalAn establishment for the care and treatment of small animals,
    including household pets. (Kauai County, Hawaii)

    "Any building or portion of a building designed or used for the care, observation,
    or treatment of domestic animals. (Annapolis, Md.)

    "A place where animals or pets are given medical or surgical treatment and are cared for during the time of such treatment. Use as a kennel shall be limited to short-time boarding and shall be only incidental to such hospital use. (Hemet, Calif.)

    "An establishment for the care and treatment of the diseases and injuries of animals and where animals may be boarded during their convalescence. (Santa Rosa, Calif.)

    "Any facility maintained by or for the use of a licensed veterinarian in the diagnosis,
    treatment, or prevention of animal diseases wherein the animals are limited to dogs, cats, or other comparable household pets and wherein the overnight care of said animals is prohibited except when necessary in the medical treatment of the
    animal. (Loveland, Colo.)"

    We have exactly the same thing just applied for as well, actually just finished reviewing the preliminary staff review submittal. It is proposed for our industrial zone which allows animal hospitals and that is the classification they are coming in under.

    Our zoning ordinance does not provide for human hospitals or emergency clinics, and an emergency human clinic would clearly not meet our definition of professional office. Thus the animals have a better chance of getting medical treatment here than humans.

    EDIT: Clinic in the Planners Dictionary appear to be limited in definition to people not animals.

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,585
    Back in my days as a ZBA alternate, I sat on a case in my hometown very similar. Needless to say, I was the "1" in the 4-1 vote to approve a variance.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Hudson River Valley
    Posts
    48
    Thanks very much! I took this issue to the City Solicitor, who laughed out loud. I plan to prepare the ZBA with the sample definitions you provided, along with some info on other emergency clinics that refer to themselves as veterinary hospitals. What a waste of time!!!!

    Thanks again. I owe you one.

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