WOBURN - North Woburn Alderman Edward Tedesco recently introduced zoning legislation that would differentiate pet training and daycare businesses from kennels.

During the City Council's latest virtual gathering, the aldermen voted unanimously and without debate to schedule a public hearing for the zoning amendment, which would allow smaller pet recreation and pet care facilities to operate as independent businesses in industrial and business interstate (BI) districts.

Tedesco did not explain the genesis of the petition or whether it specifically relates to a proposed business operation within the city.

Presently, Woburn's Zoning Ordinances contains two references to pet-related businesses within its table of use regulations. The first relates to pet kennels, which are normally associated with 24-hour operations that offer the overnight care of animals.

In 2007, after officials from Commerce Way's PETCO emerged with plans to establish a "pet hotel", the City Council amended the city's zoning ordinances to include pet cares as an allowable accessory use.

However, that addition does not include smaller mom and pop enterprises that operate exclusively as "doggie day care" or animal trainers.

In recent years, many families have come to rely on such businesses to care for their pets while household heads are at work. Given the growing popularity of such day cares, officials in neighboring communities like Stoneham have similarly sought to differentiate the daytime use from businesses that house overnight or provide medical care for animals.

Under Tedesco's proposal, a new definition for pet recreation or pet care facility would be created which describes such enterprises as "providing services related to the indoor recreation, obedience training, and/or day care of pets on an hourly or daily, but not overnight, basis."

The zoning initiative would make the use allowable by special permit and further stipulate that pet care facilities will be allowed within industrial and BI districts so long as the proposed premises contain less than 5,000 square feet.

The use would be prohibited on any property that is within 500-feet of a residential zoning district.

Technically, there are already a handful of independent pet day care and obedience training businesses within the city, but the owners of those operations had to apply for their permits by meeting the requirements for pet kennels.

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