WESTERLY — The Zoning Board Of Review unanimously approved a special use permit Wednesday for a Pawcatuck woman who plans to open a dog training facility at the Westerly Airport Industrial Park.
The woman, Heidi Benson, had applied for the permit to open the facility in Building C at the park, which is in the town's General Industrial zone. A permit is necessary because municipal zoning regulations do not specify a zone in which dog training facilities are permitted, said Nathan Reichert, zoning official.
Benson, who said she has about 36 years of experience as a dog trainer, plans to offer private as well as group lessons, dog sports, and agility training. Most of the training will involve the dogs' owners but some will be done with dogs that are dropped off by their owners.
Benson plans to operate the business in a 4,000-square-foot part of the park owned by Runway Park LLC. There will be no boarding, kennel services or day care. Reichert said those services are not allowed in most zones in the town because of noise concerns.
Benson said she worked in the field of dog training mostly during her years in Massachusetts. Since moving to Pawcatuck about three years ago, she has provided training services at clients' residences.
Board members welcomed Benson's plans. "I think it will be well received," said John Ornberg. Board chairman Walter Pawelkiewicz said the business will address "a real need" in Westerly.
The board also unanimously approved a special use permit to allow for alcohol to be served at Noodle Revolution, a restaurant at 87 Oak St. In a narrative filed in the Department of Development Services office, Jutharat Feldman, the restaurant's owner, said that serving alcohol would help her establishment "stay competitive." The restaurant has been on Oak Street for close to five years; the previous business there was the Hill Top Restaurant. Reichert said a liquor license held by Hill Top had been abandoned; thus, Feldman was required to seek a special use permit. She will also be required to seek a license from the municipal Licensing Board.
Raymond L. Baribeault Jr., the lawyer representing Nidalo F&B LLC, the corporate owner of Noodle Revolution, said Feldman previously ran Rice Spice Noodles, a popular Thai restaurant in Mystic. Stephen Sweet, who owns a house adjacent to Noodle Revolution, spoke in favor of the board issuing the permit. "It's been nice to have Noodle Revolution in the neighborhood, within walking distance," he said.
Pawelkiewicz was also supportive, saying Noodle Revolution is one of his "favorite establishments."