The Midlothian City Council approved a specific use permit to allow a kennel and boarding facility in a residential area at its Tuesday night meeting. A public hearing on the request was first heard at the Oct. 10 city council meeting.

Midlothian Planning Director Trent Robertson previously told the council that the facility had been operating without a specific use permit for about a year. It was only discovered after code enforcement officers were following up on a complaint made by the SPCA on July 31 for animal cruelty. After investigating it was found to unfounded.

“Staff is recommending denial of this SUP. If they decided to approve it they recommended limiting the number of animals to eight and maintaining the outside perimeter fence,” Robertson said. “We have received several phone calls and letters both in favor and in opposition to the project.”

Robertson noted that if the council approves the request, the SUP would run with the land and not with the property owner. If a new owner would come in and would like to open a dog kennel they could.

Owner of Pop's Boarding, Cynthia Webb, stated if she were to sell her home she would not be interested in selling to someone who would want to continue the boarding facility use.

“This is a pet hotel on weekends to be able to provide a service to the animals that I groom. I am only babysitting the dogs on the weekends,” Webb said. “If there is anything that I can do in writing to help this when we sell I will.”

Midlothian resident Paula Baucum spoke in favor of the project stating that Webb treats the animals in her care kindly and her clients well.

Ron McKenzie expressed his concern about the use of an accessory building in a residential area stating that it would create an increase in traffic in the neighborhood to the council.

Mayor Pro Tem T.J. Henley asked Webb why a floor drain was placed in the building if a kennel was not going to be its intended use.

Webb told Henley that when the room was built, it was constructed to be used as a game room and the drain would aid in clean up.

The council, in a 4-3 vote, approved the request with Mayor Bill Houston, Council Member Jimmie McClure, and Henley voting in opposition.

Developer David Jackson then addressed the council with a request to rezone 11 acres from an agricultural district to a light industrial district. The property is located west of Rex Odom Drive between Airport Drive and U.S. Highway 287.

“It is basically an incubator building for small businesses that need space between 1,250 – 3,000 square feet. This has been very successful in other areas, and there is a need here for this. There is a certain part of the population that office out of these buildings,” Jackson stated. “Right now people in Midlothian are officing out of facilities in other communities. We have the chance to bring them back. Every community needs these incubating buildings.”

Council member Joe Frizzell expressed his concerns that this development would be used only for airport-related businesses since it is next to Mid-Way Regional Airport.

Jackson assured Frizzell that while airport type businesses can use the facility, it would not be limited to that. He noted that a space like the ones he is proposing would be ideal for a business like a plumber to office out of.

The council approved the zoning request from Jackson.

In other business the council:

• Approved a request for a specific use permit for a smoothie shop that would be located in the Midlothian Plaza Shopping center, located at 1000 E. Main St.

• Approved development agreements for landowners.

• Approved a request to allow direct residential driveway access to Marion Road relating to the development of four lots in the Marion Subdivision. This property is located on Marion Road and north of Armstrong Road.

• Approved the purchase of three Life Pak 15 heart monitor devices from Physio-Control for $95,952.61.

• Approved a 10-year agreement with Unite Private Networks to share and swap conduit for fiber use by both the city and Unite Private Networks.

• Approved to award a contract to APSCO Supplies for the purchase of water and sewer maintenance supplies.

• Approved a master project agreement with Core and Main for a citywide water system for meter replacement for a cost of $2.165 million.

• Approved a contract with Concord Environmental Energy for installation of meters for the meter replacement program for $236,000.

• Approved an ordinance adopting the City of Midlothian design manual for the installation of network nodes and node support poles in the city’s rights of way.

• Approved to cast votes to elect directors for the Ellis Appraisal District for the years of 2018-2019. The council gave its votes to Philip Lynch.

• Approved the minutes of the Oct. 24 and Nov. 7 council meetings.