In their last meeting of the year, planning commissioners approved a permit for the Wag Hotels chain to open a kennel in Santa Monica and gave the Wilshire Blvd. BevMo! permission to extend online order and delivery service to 24/7 for non-alcoholic products and until 2 a.m. for alcoholic products.
The dog kennel will be located in two adjacent buildings at 1634 and 1653 19th Street. The complex will host 146 private dog rooms and eight private cat rooms, while the surface parking lot in between the buildings will be converted into five individually fenced-in outdoor play areas surrounded by sound blocking walls.
The hotel will have a maximum overnight occupancy of 190 guests and an anticipated average daycare occupancy of 75 dogs.
Commissioners’ biggest concern with the proposed business was the potential noise disturbance barking dogs might cause to nearby tenants. The kennel is in an industrially zoned arena, so it is subject to more lenient decibel restrictions than residential areas, however commissioners wanted to ensure the business would be a good neighbor.
After a public hearing on the proposed dog hotel permit during the Dec. 1 Planning Commission meeting, commissioners requested that a noise study be conducted before they take a final vote on the project during the Dec. 15 meeting.
In light of the noise study, staff amended the permit to require that Wag Hotels take several mitigation measures to insulate the indoor and outdoor areas. These include acoustically treating rooms, installing dual pane glazing window systems, ensuring frames seal air tight and installing rubber gasketing on doors. Wag Hotels will also install acoustic sound walls on the open ends of the courtyard containing the play areas.
Some business owners still have concerns. Glenn Martin, the Director of Nomad Editing Company, expressed worries over how the kennel could disrupt the work occurring on his company’s nearby sound stages.
“We record sound on the other side of that wall for commercials and films and if there’s even the faintest amount of a dog bark, we can’t do our business and we’ve been doing it here for 25 years,” said Martin. “So I’m a little concerned that the mitigation sounds great in practice, but may not work out the way it is designed.”
Commissioners were sympathetic to Martin’s sentiments, but agreed that these potential fears were not enough to prevent the project from going forward given the conclusions of the noise study.
“I would like to incentivize both the applicant and the neighbors to kind of work it out, but what I don’t want to do is hold new business hostage to prior business in a given industrial zone,” said Commissioner Shawn Landres.
To add accountability, Landres suggested adding a condition to the permit approval requiring that after a year Wag Hotels must provide a report to the Planning Commission demonstrating compliance with all terms of its permit, including noise mitigation, in order to retain it.
Commissioner Nina Fresco added a request that Wag Hotels provide a telephone number where they can be reached 24 hours a day if neighbors have a complaint. This was added into the conditional approval, which was passed unanimously by the Commission.
The alteration of BevMo!’s existing permit to add additional service hours passed with little discussion from commissioners.
BevMo! is located at 1312 Wilshire Blvd. and was only allowed to process online/app orders during its regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or 10 p.m. during holidays). The business requested to be able to extend operations from the building so that online orders and deliveries could be fulfilled after regular business hours.
Per its newly approved permit modification the store will service online/app orders 24/7 for non alcoholic products and between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. for alcoholic products.