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Village of Westmont denies proposal for Ogden Avenue animal hospital

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 11:52 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:51 p.m. CDT

WESTMONT – The Westmont Village Board unanimously denied six ordinances Thursday that would have relocated Hinsdale Animal Hospital to 115 E. Ogden Ave., about one block away from West Suburban Veterinary Associates.

After the Westmont Planning and Zoning Commission approved the site plans for veterinarian office and indoor kennel facility at its June meeting, Hinsdale Animal Hospital Owner Dr. Tony Kremer and RWE Management Company President Jason Sanderson presented facility renderings to the Westmont Village Board of Trustees and addressed subsequent questions.

"Our initial goal was to move to a different location in Hinsdale, and we have been working on that for years," Kremer said. "However, our thoughts of moving to Westmont were peaked when we found this site."

The proposed Westmont-Hinsdale Animal Medical Center and Luxury Pet Resort and Spa would have been located at the vacant plot formerly occupied by the Deluxe Inn Motel, a car wash and an existing gas station on the south side of Ogden Avenue, just east of Warwick Avenue.

Some of the animal hospital's proposed services include full medical and surgical care, luxury boarding and day care, obedience training and pet adoption.

The facility would have been open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, with potential for future round-the-clock operation, according to Kremer. The office would have staffed 18 employees, including 4 veterinarians, eight vet techs, four administration staff members and two employees responsible for cleaning. The kennel would not have required additional staff, Kremer said.

Additionally, It would have been located adjacent to the existing Pet Supplies Plus, 105 E. Ogden Ave., and Kremer said his facility would generate substantial business for the pet store and, as a result, more sales tax revenue for the village.

"The synergy that we would have with Pet Supplies Plus makes this an amazing fit," Kremer said. "Although our business does not produce much sales tax, the complementary nature that we would have with the business next door could end up doubling the revenue at Pet Supplies Plus."

But the proposed animal hospital would have also been in close proximity to residences on Wilmette Avenue and Rosewood Court, and West Suburban Veterinary Associates, located about 500 feet away at 519 N. Warwick Ave.

As a result, more than 10 homeowners and West Suburban employees addressed the village board Thursday, criticizing the proposal.

West Suburban Veterinary Associates owner Dr. Alan Main wondered why the village would consider adding a business that does not generate sales tax, explaining that an animal hospital on "Westmont Auto Mile" does not align with a comprehensive plan that has bolstered the downtown with shops and restaurants.

"Having been encouraged to move off the auto mile to make room for a tax generating business seems incredibly contrary to what is being considered this evening," Main said.

"The proposed project does not meet the requirements for the special use permit, nor does it meet the standards of the comprehensive plan. Most importantly, it extinguishes all future revenue from this prime retail location."

Other residents shared his concerns, exclaiming that, no matter how sound proof and sanitary the facility is, odor, sanitation, waste and noise will be an issue. Moreover, several speakers mentioned that adding the facility would drive one of the animal hospitals out of business.

While Westmont Mayor Ron Gunter said that he received "numerous emails regarding the project" and explained that competition is not cause for restricting business development, each of the six ordinances were unanimously denied.

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