Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting
April 15, 2019
Present: Dan Welker, Gene Dayton, Jason Tardio, Counsel Bell, Stephanie Perotti,
Frederick Micale, Dean Costanzo, Curt & Dixie Tobin, Curt Tobin, Jr., Jim Monaco,
Amanda Ferris, Robert Williams, Thomas & Chris Scott, Gary Blair, Erika Blair, Jill
Absent: John Ceresoli, Paul Adams, Brian O’Connor
Chairman Welker called the public hearing to order for Stephanie Perotti (Critter
Sitters) at 7 p.m.
Secretary was asked to read the legal notice as it appeared in the Post Standard.
Chairman Welker asked Ms. Perotti to explain the reason for her request for a special
permit; her attorney Frederick Micale spoke. He explained that Ms. Perotti had been
contacted by Code Officer Geer a few months back in regard to her dog
daycare/boarding operation at her home located at 112 Salt Springs that was operating
without proper permits. A public hearing was held with the Village Board to change the
zone thus allowing Ms. Perotti to apply for a home occupation for the dog
daycare/boarding operation. Attorney Micale commented that it was indicated to him
by the Zoning Board that the application submitted for Ms. Perotti was complete and
that a public hearing would be held this evening for special permit. Ms. Perotti spoke
and advised that she has been operating a daycare operation in home for a total of 20
years (starting is Syracuse) and then continuing to operate at this location for the past
12 years. She noted that the pet industry is booming. This location is home based with
relatively few neighbors, she has use of Village utilities, and the setting is perfect for her
business, largely surrounded by woods and ravines. She commented that her previous
Attorney (not Mr. Micale) had advised her that no permits were needed for the use she
purchased the property for. She currently employs five employees who work at various
shifts as walkers, pack leaders and cleaner. She has three employees at the home at one
time. The signage she has is etched into a large granite rock near her home and is
approximately 2’x2’ in size with the words Critter Sitters. She explained there are five
different play yards that are each fenced in separately and the dogs travel and rotate to
each play yard in a group. All areas she pointed out are fenced. For the boarding part of
her operation, this begins after 6 p.m. and dogs are inside the home and not outside
again until 7 a.m. unless a walk is required. There is parking for her employees and a
place for individuals dropping off their dogs throughout the day so there is no issue with
space. Curt Tobin Jr. as if there is a maximum number of dogs that will be allowed for
boarding. The peak time, according to Ms. Perotti would be 50 (peak time she defined
as times that coordinate with the school calendar for breaks to include Thanksgiving,
Christmas, winter, February, spring breaks -those time when the kids have school off.
She further explained that while the dogs are boarded, they are confined to her ranch
home. A question on height of fences was asked. She commented that in some areas at
the top the fences are 6 feet in height and at the ravine part of the property they are 5
feet in height. A question was asked how often dogs have jumped the fence. Ms. Perotti
stated at a high estimate it might be three dogs per year. She and her staff immediately
take steps to retrieve the dogs if they do jump the fence. Jim Monaco commented he
has used Critter Sitter for six years and he commented the Ms. Perotti provides a
healthy atmosphere for dogs and this operation is a great asset to the community, the
staff is great with the animals and the Village is fortunate to have a place like this in the
community it adds value to community, definitely an asset. Amanda Ferris brings her
dogs to the facility and commented that the community should take the facility seriously
– Critter Sitters is great, Stephanie is great. There is care and concern for the animals.
She said using Critter Sitters she also uses other services in the Village at least two times
per week. Robert Williams brings his dog to the facility and commented it is a superbly
run operation; Ms. Perotti treats the dogs as if they are her own. He is thankful to have
her facility available and he hopes the Board approves her request. Chris Scott who is
Ms. Perotti’s neighbor commented she is a good neighbor and she and her husband’s
home share a driveway with Ms. Perotti, there have been no issues with traffic or noise
and the Scott’s are in support of her as a business owner; she is very respectful. Erika
Blair who is Ms. Perotti’s #1 fan hopes that the Board approves the special permit
request. She runs an amazing operation. Chairman Welker asked the Tobin family
(who immediately border her property) have they needed to contact the Village for any
complaint in regard to the facility. Mrs. Tobin commented that they did complain about
leaves and dog feces that had been dumped on their side of the fence a couple of years
ago. Mrs. Tobin asked that Ms. Perotti tidy up her mess. Finding this mess on their
property was very upsetting as this part of their property is very private and they like to
use the area to mediate and relax. It breaks their heart that this mess was left. Mrs.
Tobin asked that Ms. Perotti be a good neighbor. Ms. Perotti commented that in
response to the dog feces issue complaint, she looked into and installed a disposal
system to take care of the dog feces issue about two years ago. Gary Blair commented as
an entrepreneur; the Village needs to look at the quality of care that is provided for the
dogs at the facility. Stephanie is a true professional, the dogs are maintained well, the
care goes above and beyond; she won’t take money from someone if the customer is not
satisfied with the service. Another resident commented that it is a wonderful operation
and Stephanie has a gift for animals and the facility is clean. Counsel Bell asked that as
part of the proceedings for the special permit; Section 148-37 F 1-9 be reviewed by the
That the land use or activity is so designed, located and proposed to be operated that the
public health, safety, welfare and convenience will be protected. (Ms. Perotti – yes)
That the existence of the proposed land use or activity will not cause substantial injury
to the value of other property in the neighborhood where it is to be located.
(Ms. Perotti – yes)
That the proposed land use or activity will be compatible with adjoining development
and the implied character of the zone district where it is to be located.
(Ms. Perotti – yes)
That adequate landscaping and screening is provided. (Ms. Perotti – 6 ½ acres, ravine
in back, slopes and grades backup to Tobin lands, and ravine backs up the St. Patrick’s
cemetery, surrounded by trees, set back off the road 550’)
That adequate off-street parking and loading are provided and ingress and egress are so
designed as to cause minimal interference with traffic on abutting streets.
(Ms. Perotti – yes)
That the proposed development minimizes erosion and will not cause increased surface
water runoff on abutting properties. (Ms. Perotti – yes)
That existing public roads and utilities serving the proposed development are
determined to be adequate or that provisions for needed upgrading are satisfactory.
(Ms. Perotti – yes)
That the proposed use or activity conforms to all applicable local, county and state rules
and regulations, except as may be otherwise set forth in Subsection G of this section.
(Ms. Perotti – yes)
That the proposed use or activity is in compliance with the Village of Chittenango Site
and Architectural Design Standards for Commercial Design Overlay Districts if located
within the design overlay districts. (Ms. Perotti – n/a not located in Overlay District).
Chairman Welker reported that Madison County Planning Board has reviewed the
application and returned their comment GML Log #030-2019
No adverse county-wide or intermunicipal impact would result from the operation of a
dog daycare/boarding business within a LDR zone, therefore this Special Permit
application is being returned for local determination.
Attorney Micale commented for clarification purposes that not only are the five play
yards fenced, the property is fenced as well. The dogs are contained within two fences.
Chairman Welker asked if there were any deliveries to the property. Ms. Perotti
commented that twice a year she has dog food delivered. With no further comment
from the audience or the Board, the public hearing was closed at 7:35 p.m.
Chairman Welker advised that the Board will reach their decision within the next 60
days. Mrs. Tobin asked where she might find a copy of the dog daycare language. She
was advised that it is on line at eCode360.
Chairman Welker called the regular Zoning Board meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
The Board members reviewed the minutes of March 18, 2019. Upon the motion made
by Gene Dayton, seconded by Jason Tardio, minutes of March 18, 2019 approved as
written. All members present voting in favor.
Stephanie Perotti – Critter Sitters Special Permit
Chairman Welker made the motion to approve the Special Permit for Stephanie Perotti
(Critter Sitters) at 112 Salt Springs Road for a home occupation for dog
daycare/boarding operation, seconded by Gene Dayton with the following conditions;
There will be a limit of three employees in addition to Ms. Perotti, the operation takes
place in the home and the property owned by applicant surrounding the home, fencing
as noted around the five play yards will be a minimum of five feet for those near the
ravine on the property and six feet at the top of the property as described by Ms. Perotti,
during the daycare operation daytime operation there will be a maximum of 60 dogs,
during the boarding time 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. on off peak times a maximum of 15 dogs, week
nights a maximum of 15 dogs, weekends a maximum of 30 dogs; during peak times a
limit of 50 dogs for boarding (peak times described by Ms. Perotti as during holidays
that coincide with school breaks, long weekends (holiday), and summer), number of
employees at one time recognizing shifts up to three additional staff people and Ms.
Perotti. The Board notes that Ms. Perotti has agreed to maintain the property to
properly accommodate the number of dogs and she also maintains the fencing around
the five play yards and property as described at the hearing this evening. Her operation
will be consistent with practices as standards she described this evening as well. The
question of the motion was put to vote by roll call:
Gene Dayton yes
Jason Tardio yes
Dan Welker yes
John Ceresoli absent
Brian O’Connor absent
Motion carried. Special Permit approved for Ms. Perotti (Critter Sitters) at 112 Salt
Chairman Welker commented that Brian O’Connor absent this evening due to the death
of his step mother. Our thoughts and prayers to Brian and his family.
With no further business, meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.
Jill A. Doss