Commission mixed on plans for shelter

Amid concerns about sufficient parking, noise and odor, the Planning Commission reviewed plans and appeared to be mixed about the new 42,000-square-foot animal shelter facility.

The PHS — located near Coyote Point on Airport Boulevard since 1952 — seeks to move out of its “outdated” facility into a new Burlingame site by June 2008. The proposal is two years old and is expected to cost about $15 million to build, PHS/SPCA President Ken White said.

Located on the corner of Rollins Road and Edwards Court, the proposed site would include a capacity of 200 domesticated animals and 218 wild animals at any one time. Animals would be placed in “spacious mini-apartments” instead of kennels. A courtyard for dogs surrounded by two stories of glass would feature a retractable roof, designed to mitigate noise while enabling four-legged friends to roam. It would also feature a 5,900-square-foot netted aviary.

On May 1, the Planning Commission reviewed the design and raised questions about parking. Though the project will provide 62 parking spots, some commissioners, such as Ralph Osterling and Jerry Deal, wondered if that was enough and whether there was adequate room for loading trucks and couch buses for visiting school classes.

“Parking is always a major concern,” Deal said. “But I think they have a good project. We’re a pet-friendly city. You can see that by walking around town.”

But Planning Commissioner Tim Auran said at the meeting that he didn’t think the parking was adequate.

Other issues centered on the parking lot storm drainage and whether it would contaminate a nearby creek with animal extract. City Planner Meg Monroe has told the commission that there will be atminimal environmental impacts.

Burlingame resident John Root said he’s in favor of the new facility and said the noise from the freeway will drown out any loud barking from the dogs.

PHS spokesman Scott Delucchi said the Airport Boulevard facility was built more like a pound than a home for stray animals, and does not integrate well with educational programs.

The Airport Boulevard building is leased to the PHS by the county at a cost of $1 a year in exchange for animal rescue services. That lease will expire June 30, 2008 — about the same time White hopes the Rollins Road facility will open by then.

A vote for the facility was not available at press time. If approved, the project will proceed to the City Council for review on June 4.

bfoley@examiner.com

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