Golden retriever family outdoors

Arizona’s first PetSuites is coming to Cave Creek. 

The Cave Creek Town Council approved the PetSuites site plan and rezoning request during its Feb. 1 meeting. The 10,604-square-foot pet resort will be located on the northeast corner of Carefree Highway and 52nd Street.

Residents will soon have the pet resort’s day care, boarding, training and grooming services for their cats and dogs right in their neighborhood. 

The approved site plan includes a small retail area with a variety of pet goods as well as an outdoor area where dogs can play in small pools under the cover of canopies and misters.

However, many have said the PetSuites location is too close for comfort.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the noise nuisance this will cause for the neighbors,” resident Julie Goldammer said in her public comment during the meeting.

The site plan passed in a close vote of 4-3.

Mayor Ernie Bunch, Vice Mayor David Smith and councilmembers Ron Sova and Paul Diefenderfer voted in favor. Councilmembers Kathryn Royer, Robert Morris and Thomas McGuire voted “no.”

The potential development of PetSuites has been a topic of major deliberation over the months.

A number of neighbors issued public comments during the most recent meeting as well as in past meetings with concerns about noise from barking dogs as well as traffic congestion.

Royer empathized with the residents’ concerns, saying “they have a right to their quiet enjoyment.” 

The second reading of the rezoning request was approved unanimously during the same meeting, which changes approximately 2 acres of vacant land within the Carefree Highway Specific Area Plan from desert rural to a commercial buffer zone.

The rezoning request and site plan were submitted concurrently by Kimley-Horn on behalf of PetSuites.

“We feel very strongly about the benefit that we will bring to the community and the ability to have quality care for the animals of the residents of Cave Creek,” said Bryan Moll from TM Crowley and Associates, an Indiana-based developer representing PetSuites during the meeting.

Established in 2000, PetSuites has nearly 40 locations across the United States. Construction will likely start on the Cave Creek location next month, he said. 

While the council unanimously rejected the site plan during a Nov. 16 meeting after hearing residents’ concerns, it voted to reconsider during a Dec. 7 meeting if the developer could mitigate potential noise impacts.

The amended site plan states that dogs’ outside time is restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the outdoor play area will be repositioned to the south of the building, providing an extra sound buffer between the residential area to the north, he said.

The developers also commissioned a sound study by Mesa-based Acoustical Consulting Services, which found that the pet resort falls in line with the town’s noise ordinances. 

Sound studies will be conducted six months as well as a year after opening to see if additional sound mitigation is necessary, the council decided during the meeting. 

Residents and councilmembers were still not convinced. 

“I’ve heard nothing here tonight that convinces me that there will not be a nuisance generated by this facility,” Morris said. “It’s going to be a problem for the neighbors in that area and therefore a problem for the town. It’s not consistent with our overall vibe in Cave Creek.”

Bunch took a moment after the vote to “editorialize” saying, “I do not like the use.”

However, he said the time to have done something was when the town defined the uses allowed within a commercial buffer zoning. 

“We can’t foresee everything every time. And the folks who didn’t want this, I apologize.”

—Staff writer Sarah Donahue can be reached at sdonahue@timespublications.com