Code Change Will Permit Grooming

FENWICK ISLAND – Officials in Fenwick Island last week approved on first reading an ordinance change that would allow animal grooming services within the town’s commercial zone.

On July 27, the Fenwick Island Town Council unanimously agreed to the first reading of an ordinance amendment that would permit businesses in the commercial zone to provide grooming services.

Willia Peoples, owner of the Fenwick Pet Stop, came before the council in May to request the town change its ordinance, which prohibited retail stores from selling animals or providing animal treatment.

While she had no intention of selling animals in her store, Peoples said she was looking to add a grooming service at her business.

“We are coming into an economic need for me to be able to stay competitive with other pet stores in the region to be able to do some sort of grooming services within my shop,” she said.

Peoples noted that her grooming services would operate by appointment, which would limit the number of pets that would come in throughout the day.

“This isn’t an overnight sort of thing,” she said. “These guys stay a couple of hours and then go home.”

Bill Weistling, chair of the town’s charter and ordinance committee, told the council the original code was written because the town did not want animals at businesses for extended periods of time.

“I think the primary concern was a lot of residents didn’t want any type of boarding or any type of usage where animals would be there for hours …,” he said. “If it’s something basic like cutting nails and going out the door, I think it’s worth considering.”

The charter and ordinance committee presented the council with an amendment to the ordinance that would allow nonmedical services for animals such as bathing, trimming, shaving or styling.

“Charter and ordinance met, and we did change the ordinance to allow for nonmedical and grooming services for pets,” Weistling said. “We did add wording to the ordinance that would prevent any home occupation pet grooming. That would mean working out of the house. It would not prohibit someone from going to a house with a mobile (van).”

Weistling said he did not expect any issues with the new wording.

“It’s pretty cut and dry,” he said.

While she noted that one resident had approached her with concerns for how the grooming service would impact parking in the area, Councilwoman Vicki Carmean said she was not concerned with the new ordinance.

“You probably have more parking per store than anyone in the area …,” she said. “I don’t feel like that’s a major concern for me. These animals will be groomed on an appointment basis, so it shouldn’t cause any problems.”

The council voted 7-0 to approve the first reading.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.