Resident Granted Home Business Exception by Zoning Board

Jessica Dupere, 7 Harvey Road has received a special exception to house a dog fostering and dog sitting business for one to three dogs in her home.
Dupere went before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) on Wednesday, Dec. 18, to make her case.
“I’ve had this business for almost four years now and we’ve always done in-home dog sitting,” she said. “We usually have one or two dogs. We lived in a three-family in Derry and had a nice big fenced in yard and never had a problem. We’re looking to help out fostering here and there.”

Dupere said there would not be a lot of traffic, as her clients would drop off the dog and leave, with the dog staying with Dupere for a few days to a week. She said some of the dogs are elderly or infirm, and that fostered dogs would stay with her until they could be placed with a “forever home” – an adopted family.
She said sometimes weeks go by when she does not have any dogs. She noted the dogs are never left outside alone, and added that she has an office above her garage.
“The property has a fenced in area and the business is not a kennel and not a daycare, but rather for longer term stays,” she explained. “There may be one person coming every week or two.”
Dupere has one dog of her own.
ZBA member Larry O’Sullivan asked how many clients would be the most she would have in a month.
“In November I think we had four total for the month and they did not overlap, so for the month of November there were only two dogs at a time there,” Dupere said.
O’Sullivan asked if the dogs are left outside in the fenced area alone. Dupere said that would not happen, both for consideration of the neighbors and because dogs could escape by jumping the fence or digging under it.
She said the dogs are kept in crates overnight in a room adjoining the master bedroom.
Board member Neil Dunn asked how the one to three dog limit would be regulated and O’Sullivan said neighbors could notify the authorities if violations were observed.
Board member Jackie Benard asked if what she wanted to do was something outside her business, in which she has seven employees who go to people’s homes and walk their dogs and foster dogs.
Dupere explained her employees are from other towns and go to clients’ homes. She said those employees do not come to her home.
Chairman James Smith asked how she communicated with her employees, and she said through email and text messages. She added that employee paychecks are direct deposit.
Neighbor Joanne Petersen, 5 Harvey Road said she was opposed to the plan because she was concerned with how the business would be monitored. She also cited a concern over increased traffic and said the neighborhood was family oriented and a business should not be located on that street, as it would take away from “the beauty of Londonderry.”
Smith said Londonderry has a long history of allowing home-based businesses and that the Zoning Board could not use the unwillingness of neighbors to deny a home business.
Neighbor Jason Coulter, 10 Maureen Circle said he was opposed because of noise concerns and the idea of a business in a residential neighborhood.
He said he had two small dogs and if they heard other dogs, his dogs would bark more.
“My second concern is that having a business there, especially a dog watching business, if I was to ever sell my home in the future, which I don’t plan to do but if I did, I would be concerned with people looking out the back yard and seeing the huge fence and asking what it was there for,” Coulter said.
Also opposed was Shawn Goding, 2 Harvey Road, who said he grew up in Londonderry and the street was a small neighborhood. He said that he didn’t know of the business until he received notice from the town of the hearing. He said he lived in Manchester in a townhouse and had a hard time selling it because of a nearby “doggie daycare.”
He added that the neighbors were nice and their home was beautiful, but it was unfortunate the business involved dogs and accompanying barking and smells.
During deliberations, O’Sullivan said he was OK with the business.
“There’ll be no employees there, they are not asking for a sign, no changes to the outside of the building, they’re asking as a business opportunity to have two more dogs there from time to time,” he said. “How is that going to change the character of the neighborhood? You don’t have any more traffic, you may have the noise that two more dogs could bring, but that’s what it’s boiled down to.”
He said where he lives, three neighbors have two dogs each and he rarely sees or hears them.
“I’m in favor of granting the special exception,” O’Sullivan said.
Dunn said he didn’t think two extra dogs would be “exceptional” and he also was in favor of granting the request.
Smith said that any more than three dogs would constitute a kennel, so it would have to be limited to the dog Dupere owns plus a maximum of two more.
O’Sullivan said there should be restrictions that no more than three dogs total, including their own, be allowed, and that the dogs would be attended at all times
The board voted unanimously to grant the request with the two restrictions.

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