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City moves to ease zoning on pet sitting

A city zoning code amendment would allow small pet boarding businesses in homes in two commercial districts. A city zoning code amendment would allow small pet boarding businesses in homes in two commercial districts.

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The Hendersonville Planning Board is recommending a zoning code change that allows a pet-sitting business to continue at 1516 Fifth Ave. W.
Michael and Melanie Gambill operate a pet-sitting service called Sleeps with Dogs out of their home. Because pet sitting was not allowed in the C-4 neighborhood commercial zone, the city staff drafted a new zoning category more limited than pet boarding. The change would allow pet sitting as a conditional use subject to Board of Adjustment approval in the neighborhood commercial and residential commercial transition zones.
In its Nov. 13 meeting, the Planning Board approved the zoning code text amendment, which goes to the Hendersonville City Council next week. Restrictions include:
• Only members living in the home “shall be engaged in pet-sitting.”
• There can be “no change in the outside appearance of the building” other than one non-lighted sign no more than 4 feet, 2 inches in area.
• Animals can’t be outdoors unsupervised.
• All animals must be at least six months old. No more than six can stay in the home at a time.
• The pet-sitting business must have all local and state licenses required by law.
The Gambills’ Planning Board case came up one day before their next door neighbor won approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a setback variance for a deck. The couple opposed the change at the property next door, which is being developed as a coffee shop and beer and wine bar.
“Right now we have issues,” Melanie Gambill said. “My husband explained all of our issues but they were totally debunked. Nobody listened to anything we had to say.”
Rolf Martin, owner of the property next door, declined to comment on the dispute.
“No comment,” he said. “I don’t want my name connected with her.”