Nicole Marsden can groom her own dog, Delilah, but can’t get a permit to start up a pet grooming service out of her Massey Drive home. — Star photo by Gary Kean
MASSEY DRIVE Nicole Marsden feels she is being penalized for problems that may have been caused by someone else.
Marsden moved to Massey Drive a couple of weeks ago and had hoped to establish a pet grooming business at her new home on Bellwood Drive.
She submitted an application to the Town of Massey Drive to get the proper permit to operate a home-based business, but was promptly denied by the town council.
The letter she received from the town indicated council did not feel a pet grooming business was suitable for a residential area.
Marsden believes the fact the former occupant of the home had a similar business at the location is the real reason why her permit application was denied. Marsden actually worked at that former location and can understand why neighbours might have had concerns about how that business was operated. She said the former owner had six German shepherds and was apparently breeding them. The former occupant also offered a pet boarding service, said Marsden, and often had several barking dogs running around the backyard of the property.
Marsden has two pet dogs, both of which are trained as therapy dogs. She has no intention of offering a boarding service and plans to only have one or two pets at her residence for grooming at a time.
“I wanted this to be a good thing for Massey Drive because this sort of business is needed in this area,” she said.
Marsden has worked at other pet businesses in Corner Brook and said she already has developed a large client base to go into this business. She had been voluntarily offering pet grooming to a select few clients out of her former home in Corner Brook. The only opposition Marsden has heard to her business plan is from one of her neighbours. Both she and that neighbour met with town council to voice their respective arguments for and against the idea before council voted.
According to town manager Rodger Hunt, a home-based pet grooming business would be a discretionary use that would be up to council to decide on. If council had approved the permit, there would be a period of public consultation before the permit was granted.
However, with the outright denial of the permit, which Hunt said was the result of a 5-2 vote against granting the permit, the public consultation process has not been triggered.
Mayor Gord Davis said the denial of Marsden’s application for a permit had nothing to do with the business that used to be there.
“We just don’t feel a pet grooming business of any sort should be located in a residential area,” said Davis. “If she had access to another property in town, like down by the rod and gun club or somewhere away from residences, we would approve a permit for her right away.”
Davis said the town has heard concerns — mainly regarding the noisy animals and the smell of dog feces experienced with the past business — from more than one neighbour since residents got wind of Marsden’s application. He said the lone neighbour who made representation to council did so on behalf of a group of neighbours with similar concerns.
Marsden has initiated her own public consultation by starting an online petition against the town’s decision. She plans to present the petition to the town and to the regional appeal board that she intends to ask to review the town’s decision. As of press time Friday, her online petition — which can be found by searching her name at www.thepetitionsite.com — had more than 430 names.
Davis said he doesn’t think the appeal will get Marsden anywhere because the decision whether or not to allow the permit will remain at the discretion of council.