A new animal care facility called Dogtopia is coming to the city of Fairfax. It will go on three vacant and consolidated plots on the lower level of the Westfair Center at the intersection of Lee Highway and Fern Street.
Supriya Chewle, a city planner, presented the details at a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 11, at Fairfax City Council. The plaintiff, Federal Realty, which owns this shopping center, applied for a special use permit to open such a business in the commercial zoning district of Fairfax.
“It will be a 24-hour facility with daycare and short-term, overnight boarding,” Chewle said. “A 700 square foot outdoor play area will be at the rear of the building, complete with a 6 foot high fence and landscaping. And it will be at least 300 feet from the nearest residential use.
Dogtopia is designed to accommodate 92 to 125 dogs, with a maximum capacity of 145. Animals will be separated by size, age and temperament in the outdoor play yard and the three indoor play rooms. Hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The main entrance to the 5,400 square foot facility will be through the rear of the building on the lower level. Four to seven staff will be there at all times, throughout the day from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dogs housed there will be crated at night and nighttime monitoring will be conducted for their safety.
“Could fifty dogs at once be in the playground?” council member So Lim asked. Chewle replied that it could depend on the size of the dogs. Lim also asked how long the special-use permit would last, and Chewle said it could be revoked if there were noise complaints.
Council member Tom Ross said he wanted the site and mall cleanup to be addressed. Melanie Novotny, an urban planner at Cooley LLC, representing the plaintiff, said Dogtopia employees will encourage people to pick up their pets and provide trash bags and containers. And the shopping center owner will have an additional waste station within the Fern Street/Park Road right-of-way.
Novotny said Federal Realty wanted to update Westfair Center, and “Dogtopia is a national business that we are pleased to bring to the city of Fairfax.” There are over 150 Dogtopias in the United States, including one at Falls Church. She said employees are referred to as “canine trainers” and noted that they only use cleaning products that are safe for dogs. She also said the dogs should be spayed and neutered. Services include light grooming, such as nail trimming, baths, and other spa-like activities.
As for the outdoor playground, it will only be used from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Novotny said an employee will stay outside with the dogs at all times. Ross asked how they would deal with dog noise at night, and Novotny explained that since the building is “underground, with concrete walls, it’s the perfect place” and won’t be noisy or bother people. neighbors nearby.
Council member Janice Miller moved the motion to approve Dogtopia’s special use license, and Ross seconded it. They and their colleagues then voted unanimously in favor. Fairfax Mayor David Meyer then said to the applicant: “Congratulations; we look forward to Dogtopia becoming part of the city’s business community. »