Don't let Urban Growth Boundary go to the dogs
Giant kennel doesn't belong in Alameda County open space
When Alameda County voters passed Sierra Club-written Measure D in 2000, to protect agriculture and open space in the eastern part of the county, their intent was not to see a huge kennel erected along the scenic portion of I-580 between Castro Valley and Pleasanton.
Two years ago, though, Frank and Lynn Haegeland applied to build a 20,000-square-foot kennel to house 400 dogs and 50 cats, with grooming facilities and a staff of 40, on Dublin Canyon Road, the scenic frontage road along I-580 in east Castro Valley, and the county Planning Department is recommending approval with only minor conditions.
The site is outside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) established by Measure D and in an area designated by the initiative as Resource Management land for the long-term protection of open space. The Canyonlands, in particular, where I-580 passes through the East Bay hills, were specifically identified as environmentally sensitive and in need of extra protection. This is the area where tributaries to San Lorenzo Creek have carved out numerous scenic canyons, soils are prone to erosion, and critical habitat has been declared for the Alameda whipsnake and proposed for the California red-legged frog. This stretch of I-580 is designated as a Corridor of Outstanding Scenic Beauty in the county General Plan, with a prohibition on highway commercial businesses.
County planning staff suggests that a kennel is analogous to a horse-boarding facility, which is permitted outside the UGB, and therefore should be approved as a recreational use. But horseback riding clearly is an open-space recreational activity in Alameda County, and equestrian stables are primarily for the long-term boarding of horses. The kennel, in contrast, would be a stand-alone business operation unrelated to any open space use and functionally identical to other kennels already existing in urban areas, including nearby Dublin. It would look much like a Holiday Inn Express (as judged from graphics shown at a meeting of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council), and it would serve almost entirely urban customers. There are numerous urban locations for building kennels.
The most important objection to the kennel is that it would set a precedent for weakening Measure D. The fundamental purpose of Measure D was to keep the open lands of the county free of development unconnected to agriculture, open-space recreation, and habitat protection. Approval of the kennel would invite numerous applications for other non-open space uses outside the UGB.
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council has recommended against the kennel. The East County Board of Zoning Adjustments is scheduled to act on the kennel permit on Feb. 25. Whatever the BZA decision, it will probably be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
Please contact your supervisor at www.acgov.org/board
Click on your supervisor's district button and then on "Contact Us".
County of Alameda
1221 Oak St., #536
Oakland, CA 94612.
Scott Haggerty, District 1
(Livermore, Pleasanton, most of Fremont, and east Dublin)
Gail Steele, District 2
(Hayward, Newark, Union City, north and west Fremont, and Sunol)
Alice Lai-Bitker, District 3
(San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, and the Fruitvale and Chinatown areas of Oakland)
Nate Miley, District 4
(East Oakland, Oakland Hills, Castro Valley, Ashland, Cherryland, Fairview, and most of Dublin)
Keith Carson, District 5
(Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont, and most of north and west Oakland)
Ask the Supervisors not to allow any permit for the Haegeland kennel. Tell them not to weaken Measure D by approving any non-open-space uses outside the UGB.
To find out what action the BZA has taken and when the matter may go before the Board of Supervisors, contact Dick Schneider at richs59354 -at- aol.com or (510) 482-1553.