Despite objections from neighbors, the Lake Villa village board has agreed to annex a dog kennel into the village.
The board voted unanimously Wednesday night to annex the Shag Bark Kennels property at 39772 Wittenburg Road, which had been in unincorporated Lake Villa Township and was subject to Lake County regulations.
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The decision did not sit well with neighbors, some of whom attended the meeting to express concerns about noise and the annexation process.
John and Nancy Stedl, who live in an unincorporated area near the kennel, were among the opponents. They are concerned problems will worsen under a kennel expansion plan allowed under village regulations.
John Stedl called Shag Bark a "barking dog nuisance."
"We've put up with it for years and years and years," he told the board. He said trustees' swift approval of the annexation, with no discussion during the meeting, was "despicable."
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is a travesty," Stedl said. "Two hundred barking dogs, ladies and gentlemen."
He also pointed out the village's planning and zoning board voted 3-2 against recommending the annexation.
Mayor Frank Loffredo said the matter had been discussed previously at a planning and zoning meeting and two weeks ago at a village board meeting, where residents were allowed ample time to comment.
Loffredo said the planning and zoning board voted against the measure because a couple of the members wanted more details about how the annexation fits into the village's long-term plans.
The annexation, conditional use permit and planned improvements will actually increase the quality of life for residents, Loffredo said. Shag Bark's owners plan to make facade improvements on the building and construct an addition to allow for more indoor training space. Under county regulations, Shag Bark could add on 10 percent more space, but the owners' plans call for 14 percent, which is why they sought annexation into Lake Villa, he explained.
Loffredo assured residents the kennel owners want to be good neighbors. The conditional use permit approved by trustees Wednesday, for example, limits the number of dogs if noise becomes a problem, he said.
Attorney Dan Venturi, who represented Shag Bark's owners, said under county regulations, Shag Bark Kennels had no limits on the number of dogs it could hold. It saw no more than 200 dogs at peak times, he added. The village's conditional use permit stipulates Shag Bark cannot have more than 200 dogs at one time, he explained.
"The neighbors saw that as an increase and it really hasn't (increased)," Venturi said. "The reality is, there isn't much noise. It's a big area. It's far from the road."
In the past seven years, Loffredo said, the county has not received any noise complaints regarding Shag Bark.
Nancy Stedl insisted she and her husband can hear the dogs all day.
"We want to get along," she said. "If there's a problem, we'll let people know."