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P&Z approves plan for veterinary hospital

Published 12:29 pm, Tuesday, April 17, 2012
  • A view of 319 Post Road East. A new veterinary hospital at the property was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Photo: Paul Schott / Westport News
    A view of 319 Post Road East. A new veterinary hospital at the property was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Photo: Paul Schott

 

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Local dogs already enjoy the run of Winslow Park. Soon, they will be able to be treated nearby for any mishaps they may suffer during their parkland adventures.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved Thursday a new veterinary hospital in an existing two-story building at 319 Post Road East, which is owned by the Westport Country Playhouse. Led by Dr. David Santisi, the approximately 2,200-square-foot center will provide routine appointments and overnight stays for hospitalized animals. However, the veterinary hospital would not have animal boarding nor would it include outdoor dog runs.

"Given the proximity of 319 Post Road East to Winslow Dog Park and the Connecticut Humane Society, we feel that this is an appropriate location to have a veterinary hospital in a pet friendly part of Westport," Santisi wrote in a March 31 letter to the P&Z and neighbors of 319 Post Road East.

Santisi is also the co-founder of A Cat's Place, a Norwalk-based animal hospital.

Santisi and his business partners appear set to acquire the site of the new veterinary hospital, with Santisi reporting in his March 31 letter that, "we are in the process of purchasing the property at 319 Post Road East."

The first floor of 319 Post Road East is currently leased to Saugatuck Congregational Church for administrative office space.

Playhouse leaders also supported the new veterinarian's application, which will stand yards away from both the theater and Winslow Park, arguably the preeminent outdoor recreational space for dogs in Westport.

"You have a lot of dogs in the neighborhood," said David Fiore, a member of the playhouse's Board of Trustees. "We've got a lot of people in town who need to care for their pets, and this is a great place for it."

The veterinary hospital will have 12 parking spaces, including two shared with a second-floor apartment tenant. Users of the veterinary hospital will also have access to five spots in the playhouse's 220-space parking lot.

A couple of neighboring property owners, however, expressed concerns Thursday about the center's potential impact on traffic and parking in the area.

"That whole area is under terrible impact, as far as parking, and it's dangerous," said Barbara Schmerzler, owner of 311 Post Road East.

The P&Z, nevertheless, unanimously approved Santisi's application for the veterinary hospital.

Westport has several other veterinary hospitals, including the Schulhof Animal Hospital on Post Road West and three Post Road East centers: the Westport Animal Hospital, the Poster Animal Hospital, and the Healing Center for Animals.

pschott@bcnnew.com; 203-255-4561, ext. 118; twitter.com/paulschott