Dog-training facility to move from Carrollton

Published 9:34 pm Monday, November 30, 2009

ISLE OF WIGHT—American K-9 Interdiction, LLC, a dog-training company that runs a facility in Carrollton, was given the go-ahead Thursday by the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors to move its operations to Walters.

“I have mixed emotions,” Newport District Supervisor Stan Clark said. “They’ve been excellent Carrollton residents; if they were happy to stay, we’d be happy to keep them.”

The board unanimously approved a special-use permit to allow for a commercial kennel for training dogs, storing high explosives and boarding military and civilian trainees at the nearly 50-acre site of a former detention center on Burdette Road.

“We would classify it as an excellent adaptive reuse of a currently decaying facility,” said attorney William Riddick, who represents the company’s owners, Nigel Rhodes and Paul Roushia. “In fact, this site perfectly suits the needs of American K-9.”

Supervisors also unanimously agreed to sell the more than 50 acres, including the detention camp site, to the company for $200,000.

The Isle of Wight County Planning Commission recommended last month that the board approve the special-use permit, but expressed come concerns about noise control.

Riddick said the company considered noise absorption panels, but “the cost of employing those types of structures exceeds by many times the total cost of building this facility.”

Instead the company will constrict an earthen berm, with a dense landscaping of trees and vegetation, to reduce noise in existing residential areas. The barrier will be open toward the existing forest.

“We believe that we have addressed the concerns of the Planning Commission,” Riddick said.

Public hearings were held for both the special-use permit and the contract to sell the property. Despite some initial concerns by neighbors, only supporters spoke about the project at Thursday night’s meeting.

Ed Easter, a Carrollton resident who spends a lot of time near the company’s current facility, said that he didn’t even know it existed until he heard about its plans to move to Zuni months ago.

“These people are exceptionally good neighbors,” he said.

Joanne Dixon said her son, who is currently serving in the military overseas, “has seen these trained dogs save lives.”

“You can say this has nothing to do with patriotism, but I beg to differ,” she said. “We should consider this an opportunity to save lives.”

Dixon said she understood the concerns of nearby residents, but the county should support businesses, especially now, with the Franklin mill set to close.

Clark said the complaints he heard from residents in Walters had more to do with the county’s convenience center and the State Police shooting range, both on Burdette Road, as opposed to the dog-training facility.

He made a motion that directs county staff to look into options for moving the shooting range to “a more remote area of the county.”

“That’s really what another spot needs to be found for,” he said. “It sounds like you’re in a war zone, and that’s what disturbs these people more than anything else.”