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Mon., Aug. 31
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Public hearing scheduled to determine fate of grooming business on Dover Street


MASSENA — A woman hoping to relocate her home business and move to Massena with her two young children has seen her plans delayed, at least for now, after the village Planning Board didn’t act on her proposal last week.

April M. Castagnier currently operates Ruff Around The Edges, a dog and cat grooming business, out of the garage of her Bombay home. She is hoping to continue operating the business out of her home when she moves to Massena.

However, after hearing from several people opposed to the plan, the board agreed to hold a public hearing Aug. 8 on her plans for 16 Dover St. The business would be situated in the home’s finished basement, and clients would enter through the garage. She said the only sign would be by the garage door.

Ms. Castagnier’s proposal calls for her to operate her business by appointment.

“I run it by myself. I don’t have employees,” she said, adding that each appointment typically takes two hours, so she would be seeing only four or five animals a day.

“I’m all for people having their own business and on our road pretty much everyone has a dog,” said Lisa Laughman, who resides on Ann Street, a block away from the proposed business. But she said she felt Dover Street was not the right place for a business of any kind.

“I had six kids over playing street hockey for a couple hours, and they never had to move their nets,” she said, adding she was also concerned about the impact the business would have on property values in the neighborhood.

Jennifer Rider, a resident of Ann Street, also voiced displeasure with the proposal.

“There are so many commercial properties available around here,” she said. “If you allow one in, what’s to stop others from coming?”

Planning Board member Brian Schafer responded, “They would come before the Planning Board.”

Ms. Castagnier said she hopes to operate the business out of her home. “I’m looking to stay away from the overhead,” she noted.

Ms. Castagnier also said she has a six-month lease on the property and is looking to purchase it. She made those comments in response to a complaint that she had no vested interest in the community.

“I wouldn’t be moving my business here if I didn’t plan on buying that home,” she said.

Planning Board member Brian Trzaskos noted that a grooming business is an acceptable use, according to the code.

“In the village code, this type of business is acceptable in a residential area,” he said. “We have various businesses in the community in residential areas and they all seem to have melded into the community.”

The board received six letters opposed to the project — three from Dover Street residents and three from Ann Street — and two letters supporting the venture, both from Dover Street residents.

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