Plans for Danville veterinarian clinic move forward

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Plans for a veterinary clinic in Danville will move forward despite neighbors' opposition.

The Danville Planning Commission voted 5 to 2 Monday afternoon to give a special use permit to Dr. Jeff Smith of Mt. Hermon Family Vet.

Neighbors are mostly worried about the noise.

The Woodberry Hills neighborhood backs up to the property.

Neighbors say they respect what Dr. Smith is trying to do but it's not the right fit for the area.

Dr. Smith says he's tried to look elsewhere but hasn't had any luck.

The proposed location along Old Piney Forest Road is right up from the fire station, two elementary schools and across from O.F. Newman and Son Inc.

About two years ago, Dr. Smith tried to move his clinic but there was so much backlash from neighbors he stopped.

Now, Smith says he has reached out to neighbors and tried to address their concerns. He has increased the sound proofing in the building and the fencing outside.

"Which really has not been a concern in our location here in the past twenty years. We are in a densely populated area, more so then the new location," Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Smith said.

Smith says they will be cleaning up after the animals constantly and no dogs will be outside after 6 pm.

Neighbors are also worried about increased traffic, their property values and a young special needs boy who lives next to the property.

"The tree line is kind of a false hope," Robert Melton said. "My concern is with mosquitoes, noise, with anything, my son is never going in the backyard, ever."

"Basically none of us want him there," Neighbor Anne Atkins said.

"But there has to be a better solution to this then backing it up against a neighborhood especially that's going to affect children," Neighbor Melinda McSherry said.

The permit asks that the dogs are only outside from the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Smith said 6 p.m. was fine.

The planning commission put three stipulations on the permit:

- No more than 30 dogs outside at a time.
- Retention ponds have to be 50 feet away from the property line.
- Rapid growth trees have to be planted along neighboring streets, Woodberry and Cottonwood.

Smith says he wants to be a good neighbor and he will continue those efforts.

He says his business is growing and then need room to expand.

"I think it's good for economic development. It's great for our practice. we are trying to advance and do better things," Smith said.

He says he handed out flyers and set up a meeting for neighbors to come and ask questions but no one showed up.

The planning commission recommendation will now move to city council next month.