Zone flexible on kennels

Former Macedon Ranges pound facility, Ashbourne Kennels, located in a rural conservation zone, is proposed for redevelopment.
Nanjing Night Net

The business has an ‘existing use’ right dating back 39 years which it relied on up until recently.

The zone conditions previously prohibited new animal boarding kennels in the zone, also ruling out redevelopments.

Controversial state zone reforms introduced in August have made the zone more flexible and it now allows kennels as a discretionary use (subject to council approval).

For businesses like Ashbourne Kennels, the reforms will allow changes that conform with current regulations, such as constructing a facility with plumbing for animal sewerage, and sound proofing.

“It became obvious we needed to upgrade our kennels asap to become code compliant for the future,” Ashbourne Kennels owner, Robyn Bruger said.

“We submitted a planning permit in November 2012 to build new facilities – not to increase numbers of animals or to

expand (but to) remain within existing permit conditions.”

But, sound proofing provisions on the potential redevelopment have done little to appease neighbours.

Ashbourne Kennels has been the subject of noise pollution complaints for about a year. Neighbours say the sound coming from the property is ruining their enjoyment of their properties. They are concerned a redevelopment of the property will inadequately resolve noise issues and encourage a more intense use of the facility.

“The noise has been horrific in the last 12 months or so,” neighbour, Marcus Smith said.

Another neighbour, Victor Stoller, said the noise emissions have impacted his health and the tranquility of his property.

“I love gardening, I like the peace and quiet – that is not like it is now. That’s what we live here for,” he said.

A council-requested acoustic report by Marshall Day Acoustics (July 2013) states, “The noise emission from the Ashbourne Kennels is calculated to be up to 18dB (decibels) higher that the NIRV (noise from industry in regional Victoria) recommended maximum noise levels at local noise sensitive receptors”.

“We have been out there and we’ve monitored the noise level with certified equipment, and we’ve provided that information to Ashbourne Kennels and that’s the remedial work they’re doing – sound insulation and sound attenuation works,” council assets and operations director, Dale Thornton said.

“We actually issued a formal notice to comply (to noise regulations), they have 21 days to comply which expires in the middle of November, given that there is a bit of work to be done: acoustically baffle the kennels, consider electronic masking devices – playing a low level classical music the dogs (to muffle the outside sounds that prompt barking), and they must reconstruct some of their kennels to visually block stimuli, and we’re asking them to exercise the dogs at particular times – a lot of that work has already been done.”The application to redevelop Ashbourne Kennels is set to come before council for a decision at a public meeting on Wednesday, November 27.

Neighbours objecting to Ashbourne Kennels’ proposed redevelopment, Marcus Smith, Victor Stoller, Sam Raudino, Dainis Dakternieks, Sally Oswin, and Peter Murphy, say noise emissions are too high.

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