The Johnston County Board of Commissioners has rejected plans by a Smithfield area resident to operate a dog boarding and training facility, and a self-service dog wash.
In September 2019, Dawn Herron requested permission to rezone a 4.87 acre tract of land at 1050 Freedom Road in the Cleveland Township to General Business – Special Use District for the animal facility.
During their December 2019 meeting, the Johnston County Planning Board voted 6-to-1 to recommend Commissioners deny the request. During the planning board meeting, a neighbor, Amber Powers spoke in opposition of the rezoning saying Herron already operates a rescue-type business and dogs can be heard barking on some nights until midnight. In addition to the noise, Powers expressed concern about traffic, property values, and the proper disposal of dog feces. Powers presented a petition signed by 24 people who were opposed to the dog boarding business.
During their February 3rd meeting, County Commissioners heard a presentation from Mrs. Herron who said her proposed business would create 5 to 7 new jobs and would offer low cost spay and neuter services for dogs. Herron said she had 22 personal dogs on her property now. With the rezoning she would have no more than 50 total dogs at the site at any given time.
Pauline Raynor, who lives nearby on Freedom Road, told Commissioners she already hears the noise from Herron’s current dogs and more dogs would mean more noise. “No one wants to hear that. I don’t.” Raynor also feared the dog boarding facility in a residential area could lower property values.
Herron addressed the noise concerns saying, “If you live in a residential neighborhood you will hear a dog bark.” She added her 22 dogs are currently kept outside but with a dog boarding facility, all the animals would be kept inside, which would mean less noise.
Commissioner Patrick Harris commented, “I’m still trying to get over 22 dogs. I have one cat at the house.”
At the conclusion of the public hearing, Commissioner Vice Chairman Chad Stewart voted to deny the rezoning request. The board voted 4-to-1 for the denial. Larry Wood was the only commissioner to vote in favor.
Commissioners Jeff Carver and Butch Lawter were absent from the meeting.