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Committee postpones vote on kennel

The decision to allow a DeKalb County dog breeder to expand her kennel into Ogle County has been delayed for a month.

The Ogle County Planning & Zoning Committee postponed making a decision Tuesday morning until members have the chance to read the transcripts from the April 27 Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on a special use request from Christie Hardt, owner of B&C Kennel, Clare, and her husband Robert DeCosta.

That means the final decision cannot come from the county board until at least its June 20 meeting.

Hardt and DeCosta have requested the special use permit to operate a commercial dog kennel on property they own at 14189 E. Dutch Rd., northeast of Kings.

The site is zoned for agricultural use, and the request asks for a special use permit to allow dog breeding, import and sale of puppies, dog grooming, and dog obedience training at the kennel.

Zoning Administrator Mike Reibel told the Planning & Zoning Committee that the transcript from the five and one-half hours long ZBA hearing is not yet completed and will not be available until the end of the week.

He estimated that the transcript will be 200 pages long.

Committee member Lyle Hopkins then made a motion to postpone making a recommendation on the matter until the transcript is available.

However, committee member Tom Smith, Kings, objected.

“We don’t review the transcripts on anything else,” he said. 

Smith is also the supervisor of White Rock Township, whose board voted against the special use request.

Committee member Wayne Reising, Oregon, disagreed with Smith.

“I read the transcripts before we meet,” he said. “Ordinarily we get them a week ahead of time. “I would like to read the transcript before we vote on this.”

Rick Fritz, Monroe Center, also a committee member, said he, too, reads the transcripts before voting.

Hopkins’ motion was approved 5-1 with Smith casting the only no vote. Voting yes were Hopkins, Reising, Fritz, Ron Colson, Mt. Morris, and Bruce McKinney, Rochelle.

All six are also county board members.

Several county residents spoke in opposition to the kennel at the ZBA hearing, voicing concern that it is a “puppy mill,” and 2,500 signed a petition against it.

Hardt read a statement refuting allegations that she runs a puppy mill, and several people testified in her behalf to the ZBA, which voted 3-2 to recommend denial of the special use permit.

She said she gets most of her puppies from A-1 Kennels in Tennessee which is owned and operated by her cousin Angela Shubert. Shubert also gave testimony at the ZBA hearing.

The Regional Planning Committee also voted 4-1 for denial on March 23.

Special use permits are considered by the three committees and they each make a recommendation to the county board, which makes the final decision.

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