After roughly two and a half years of steady growth, Wagging Tails Pet Resort owner Keith Olson says his Eagan-based pet boarding business is ready to expand.
On Tuesday, Olson asked the Eagan Advisory Planning Commission to recommend approval of a conditional use permit that would allow Wagging Tails to care for as many as 125 dogs at one time. The business' current permit only allows 95 animals on site. The commission unanimously agreed, and the conditional use permit is expected to pass to the Eagan City Council for final approval on Dec. 4.
It's not the first time Olson has asked the city to allow him to care for more than 100 dogs at the business, which is located at 3275 Sun Drive in Eagan. Prior to the opening of Wagging Tails in 2010, Olson applied for a permit for as many as 130 animals. But the Eagan City Council, responding to neighbors' concerns about barking noise, reduced the maximum to 95 dogs at that time.
Since opening Wagging Tails, Olson has constructed an outdoor play area totaling 5,000 square feet, plus an indoor playroom and kennel area for small dogs to accommodate the additional animals.
“During the past couple of years, we’ve made small dogs the focus of our business," Olson told the commission on Tuesday. "Learning what the needs are for our smaller, furry friends, we decided we need more secluded indoor and outdoor play areas and a smaller, quieter sleeping area.
Eagan city officials raised several concerns while inspecting current conditions at the business prior to the Tuesday meeting, and were prepared to ask Olson to improve fencing around the site, increase the amount of pea rock surfacing in the outdoor play areas and implement a fire evacuation plan for the animals under his care.
But in a presentation to the commission, Olson explained that many of the outdoor play areas are next to unused woodland property—reducing the potential for noise problems. He also walked through the business' already-existing emergency plan.
The business, Olson and Eagan City Planner Mike Ridley noted in a presentation on Tuesday, hasn't received any noise complaints from neighbors. With a few exceptions—during pickup and drop-off times in the morning and afternoon, for example—the dogs are relatively quiet, Olson said.
"Two to three years ago, the concern was with the unknown, what the impact would be offsite with the adjacent properties," Ridley said, referring to barking noise from the property. “Now, we have a couple of years under our belt and understand the operation."