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San Joaquin County planners approve use permit for Lockeford-area dog kennel

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Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 10:30 am, Fri Jan 4, 2013.

After a public hearing featuring feuding neighbors on Thursday, the San Joaquin County Planning Commission approved a use permit for Bill and Kate Montgomery to operate a dog kennel on Atkins Road between Lockeford and Clements.

According to county planner Mo Hatef, the Montgomerys have operated the kennel illegally for more than two years because they didn't previously apply for a use permit from the county.

The Montgomerys' neighbors, Paul and Tracy Matheson, told commissioners that dogs from the kennel bark at all hours of the day and night.

"It's unbelievable," neighbor Tracy Matheson said. "I can't even relax outside."

The Mathesons' residence is less than 200 feet from the kennel, according to their attorney, Michael Fluetsch of Lodi.

Planning Commission chairman Peter Johnson tried to focus strictly on the planning issues that the commission was assigned to deliberate. Several times, Johnson told people from both sides he didn't want to hear about the hard feelings between the dog kennel owners and their neighbors, nor did he want to hear about a lawsuit the Mathesons filed against the Montgomerys.

Charles and Carolyn Chatfield were also named in the lawsuit because they own the property where the Montgomerys operate their kennel.

The Mathesons are seeking an injunction forcing Bill and Kate Montgomery to cease operating their kennel off Atkins Road, according the Mathesons' attorney, Fluetsch said.

Johnson said several times that the Planning Commission's duty is to determine whether the neighborhood's zoning makes it an appropriate place for a kennel, rather than to hear about the lawsuit and how well the neighbors get along.

Fluetsch commended the Montgomerys for rescuing dogs that are at risk of being euthanized, but said the kennel operators shouldn't disturb any neighbors.

Kate Montgomery said she doesn't like barking dogs any more than her neighbors.

"I don't want to cause people problems," she said. "If I felt (the Mathesons' allegations) were true, I'd move."

Johnson and commissioners Miguel Villapudua, Stan Morri and Clem Lee approved the use permit to operate the kennel, while Linden resident Larry Hamilton, who represents the Lodi-Lockeford area, cast the lone dissenting vote.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Tammy Peoples-Lovitt posted at 3:06 pm on Fri, Jan 4, 2013.

    Tammy Lovitt Posts: 1

    After being at that meeting last night I now understand why individuals don't stand up for their rights. Unless you are politically connected or if you use the words "rescue center" your feelings mean nothing. I guess because people are taking animals away from the county runned centers they can get away with anything. These people could have continued operating illegally for who knows how long until someone stepped up and made the county aware of it but just like the committee they are not going to do anything to them. As long as the animals are not their problem, they don't care about the situation.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:46 am on Fri, Jan 4, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    No ramifications for running this kennel for two years unrestricted? Sounds like the same old good old boys planning commission in Lodi? I assumed when the planning commission having jurisdction holds their plan and approval meetings, that the public is invited to attend and voice their opinion and concern pertaining to the approval of the matter? The planning commission chairman doesn't seem to think that these neighbors closeby don't have the right to address the planning commission and air their reason for asking that this issue not be approved? The fact that this family operated for two years without applying for a use permit leads me to think that this issue was not properly considered by this board and would subject these neighbors to the constant disturbance of dogs barking day and night. Maybe this family is well connected?

  • Tracy Matheson posted at 9:23 am on Fri, Jan 4, 2013.

    TM Matheson Posts: 7

    Its pretty darn sad planning dept openly states knowing this has been a 2+ year problem yet not only us but surrounding neighbors lives will be disrupted anyway??? the Montgomery's knows 4 of the 5 surrounding neighbors are against her operation so do as she herself said - MOVE. Truthfully it was as if the decision had already been made no matter who or what opposing had to say.....



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