Future of Waverly Animal Hospital in question

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By Liv Larsen and Jordan Jennings

Lansing Township —  A handful of people gathered in the Lansing Charter Township Office Board Room to discuss the future of the Waverly Animal Hospital. Ivan Johnson, the PNC Bank trustee for the late Dr. Charles Thrush, owner of the Waverly Animal Hospital, presented a request to allow a rezoning of a residential lot currently used as part of the animal hospital at 233 Waverly Road. The decision was ultimately denied by the members of the board.

This particular request would allow the expansion of the lot another 92 feet for continuance of the “animal run” that the dogs staying at the animal hospital currently use to go outside. PNC bank got involved in December 2013 in hopes to continue the business and secure the future of the Animal Hospital.

Lansing Township Planning Director, Steve Hayward, addresses the board.

Lansing Township Planning Director, Steve Hayward, addresses the board. Photo by Liv Larsen

“Dr. Stuhler is my vet,” said Lansing Township resident Vicki Simmons. “Dr. Thrush bought that house as his own, and she’s going to buy that.”

According to Johnson, the house that Simmons is talking about is the house that uses its backyard for the current animal run, which is in violation of ordinance 85-6.1 paragraph M, stating that “the animals need to remain inside the four walls of the facility,” leaving the next move to try and allow for a reuse variance for the hospital.

“[A] reuse variance would allow us to continue to use that,” said Dr. Stuhler, veterinarian at Waverly Animal Hospital.

Concerned neighbors expressed fears that if the board doesn’t allow the extra 92 feet, then the animal hospital would shut its doors and move away.

“She would build elsewhere,” said Simmons, “and there’d be another empty lot.”

Other neighbors feared that if the expansion is allowed, that the barking from the dogs will become a neighborhood fiasco a fact already taken into consideration from Stuhler.

“There’s a lot of neighboring dogs, [so] are they hearing our dogs, or another neighbor’s dog?” asked Stuhler. “We’re very conscious of it.”

As for the future of the animal hospital, that’s still unknown. The Planning Commission Board voted unanimously against the rezoning of the current lot; but that doesn’t mean the expansion won’t happen, it’s just a matter of what the Board of Appeals has to say. For Stuhler, the future is still unclear.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead” said Stuhler. “Our best interest is to stay where we are … We’re going to try our best and stay.”

Johnson referred questions about the issue to PNC headquarters in Pennsylvania, which declined to comment.

Steve Hayward, Lansing Township planning director, did not respond to several attempts to reach him for comment.

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