During a called meeting on Aug. 27, Metter City Council approved an application by Jincy Fordham for a conditional use permit for property on 15 N. Kennedy St., in order to open a boarding kennel for dogs.
The motion passed with Council members Amy Harrelson and Brandon Sikes voting in favor and Paul MacGregor voting against.
The vote was taken a month after a public hearing on July 20 regarding the issue.
At that time, council members discussed Fordham’s plans at length, expressing concerns that a boarding kennel at that location could disrupt the nearby childcare facility as well as the aesthetics and enjoyment of the downtown park.
No citizens attended the public hearing. However, council withheld a vote on the issue, asking Fordham to return with a rendering of the kennel’s façade.
Fordham, who also owns the property in which the daycare sits, assured council at the public hearing and again at the Aug. 27 meeting that the plans for the kennel met with all USDA regulations and that she had spoken to the daycare owners as well.
As she told council, “The dogs will be housed and kenneled inside and only go outside for a short amount of playtime.
“The daycare is two buildings over with cinderblocks on four walls before you even get to the kids.”
According to state child care licensing, Fordham said that as long as the dog kennel and childcare did not share a fence, there was no issue.
Mayor Ed Boyd expressed concern about possible barking at night.
Because the animals would remain indoors at night, Fordham assured council that would not be a problem. She also reminded officials that she would not allow the kennel business to negatively impact her other tenants in a business that has been established at that location for over 30 years.
Fordham added that the kennel business has a potential clientele in Metter.
“I just know it’s very much needed in the community,” she said. “We have folks carrying their pets to Statesboro.”
In other business of the called meeting, council approved a bid for $4,500 from Holloway Construction to install a door separating the main entrance from office space.
The door would serve multiple purposes, explained City Manager Carter Crawford, as it would ensure social distancing measures during COVID and would also serve as a barrier from individuals just walking into offices without staff being aware.