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Hall commissioners reject rezoning for dog kennel after neighborhood blowback
Andrew Cain tells his 18-month-old Labrador, Hunter, to heel in June. Cain was hoping to start a business training Labradors for duck hunters on Ducket Mill Road, but Hall County commissioners voted down the rezoning for the project.

There will be no commercial dog kennel on Duckett Mill Road after the Hall County Board of Commissioners rejected a zoning request on Thursday.

With two votes for the request and three against it, commissioners rejected plans for a Labrador training and breeding kennel in the West Hall area after a strong show of opposition among Duckett Mill residents.

Andrew Cain hoped to start a commercial kennel training dogs for duck hunting, but needed to rezone his acre of land from agricultural-residential III to planned commercial development, a move given a positive recommendation by the Hall County Planning Commission on June 5.

Cain defended the idea before the Board of Commissioners on Thursday. He said the facility would be a “no bark” kennel through electronic collars and training of the dogs, and that no more than 10 adult dogs would be on the lot at any time.

“You wouldn’t want a dog in your blind barking, so we train them not to bark,” Cain told The Times in early June.

His plans included a new structure, the kennel, in the area behind an existing house on the lot. The building would have housed 10 dog runs at 200 square feet each, and all would have an indoor and outdoor section.

Dogs would have been able to move inside and out during the day, but would have been locked inside at night.

Between two separate petitions, more than 40 residents of Duckett Mill Road added their signatures in opposition to the development. Many of those people attended Thursday’s meeting.

With developers making plans to build more than 200 homes in the area in the coming years, area resident Ken Goodman said the commercial kennel “brings no benefit to the local area.”

“A commercial business is not desirable to the residents in line with future development in this area,” Goodman said.

He also ran through a brief history of three other instances when commissioners rejected proposals for commercial kennels and equestrian uses in noncommercial zones.

“To my knowledge, going through the commission records, there has never been a kennel approved in a noncommercial area,” he said.

Goodman also noted that Cain didn’t live on the property and instead had a home about 4 miles away on the lake.

Cain defended his proposal after opponents spoke, emphasizing that his dogs would be quiet and on-site visits would be made by appointment.

“If I was in their shoes, I would have the same concerns,” Cain said. “But I have done my homework on this, and people that know me — I’m very particular about what I do. This kennel is going to be a very nice kennel.”

Thursday was a marathon meeting for the commissioners, who had both their regular business and the annual budget and tax rate adoption.

“Well if y’all don’t think we have tough jobs,” Commissioner Billy Powell said before the vote. “Basically, I’ve got 46 plus the amount of people who said they’re against it tonight, and I’ve got two people that are for it. But I’m not going to run from the decision — I think it’s a good project. I think he’s done his homework.”

The motion to approve the rezone failed, with Powell and Commissioner Kathy Cooper in favor and Chairman Richard Higgins and Commissioners Scott Gibbs and Jeff Stowe opposed.

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