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Animal hospital owners defend dog day care, park

EMMITSBURG — The owners of Emmitsburg Veterinary Hospital asked commissioners Monday to reconsider their proposal to create a dog day care and dog park.

Dr. Hugh and Nell Matthews said they see their proposal as an expansion of their veterinary business, located at 9436 Waynesboro Pike, which already includes an animal boarding facility.

Commissioners discussed the proposal as administrative business during their May 21 meeting. The creation of a dog day care and dog park would require rezoning the property, and the board stated at the May meeting that it was not interested in considering the proposal.

Nell Matthews said Monday that the dog park would help people see Emmitsburg as a progressive town. She said she has spoken with staff in Waynesboro, Pa., which has a similar dog park, and was told that the town does not receive complaints about that park.

“It would be a great asset to have in the town of Emmitsburg,” she said.

Sharon Hane, who lives on Stonehurst Court near the veterinary hospital, said during Monday’s meeting that she was concerned about noise from barking dogs, as well as the safety of the dogs with the number of vehicles that drive by the site.

Hugh Matthews said neither the dog day care nor the dog park would be open at night, so residents should not have concerns about lights or nighttime noise. He said Frederick County has other dog parks that operate successfully, and that having one in Emmitsburg would be “a win-win situation for the town.”

“We don’t expect free sailing with this park,” he said. “We understand that there are considerations and concerns from our neighbors … we want to work together.”

The Matthewses purchased Emmitsburg Veterinary Hospital from the late Dr. William Carr in 1989, and said they plan to name the dog park in Carr’s honor.

At the end of Monday’s meeting, commissioners declined to place the issue on the agenda for their June 18 meeting.

In other business Monday, commissioners unanimously approved the FY 2013 general fund budget.

The $1.6 million budget holds the property tax rate steady at 36 cents per $100 of assessed value, despite decreased property values that will result in decreased tax revenue in the coming budget year.

Commissioners spent much of their May 21 meeting trimming spending in the original budget proposal to avoid raising the tax rate. The board reversed some of those spending cuts, including some funds for training, travel, and special events, Monday evening after staff recalculated the town’s anticipated contribution to the state’s pension plan and found they had overestimated that expense.

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