Plans for Rollins Road animal facility move forward

A proposal for a new 42,000-square foot animal-shelter facility on Rollins Road took a step forward Tuesday night when the Peninsula Humane Society project came under review by the Planning Commission, two years into its application process.

The PHS — located near Coyote Point since 1952 — seeks to move out of its “outdated” facility into a new site on Rollins Road and Edwards Court in Burlingame. The proposed building is expected to cost $15 million, said PHS/SPCA President Ken White.

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

On Tuesday, Planning Commissioners reviewed the project’s environmental impact report that covered issues ofodor, noise, water runoff and traffic with City Planner Meg Monroe, assuring the commission that the proposal presented little impact.

The new building could house 200 domesticated animals and 218 wild animals at any one time. Animals would be housed in “spacious mini-apartments” instead of kennels. A courtyard for dogs surrounded by two stories of glass will 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.

Several Burlingame residents have welcomed the move.

“It seems like a nice thing for the neighborhood and the animals,” said Ross Bruce, president of the Broadway Merchant’s Association, who owns a yellow Labrador named Jake. “Having a place nearby to take them if they are lost is a good thing.”

However, nearby property owners have criticized the Rollins Road project, fearing noise and smell. One property owner, Albert Guibara, filed a lawsuit last August against the city after the city changed the site’s zoning for the plan. The suit was dismissed in court in March, said City Attorney Larry Anderson.

White said the design of the building is neighbor-friendly.

“It won’t sound like animals from the outside and it won’t smell like animals from the outside,” he said.

White said it is the county’s prerogative to extend the lease and continue animal rescue services from the Airport Boulevard building.

The city council is scheduled to review the Rollins Road project on June 4.

bfoley@examiner.com

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