The Foxcroft neighborhood is a place where people splash in pools at the Little Rock Racquet Club and indulge in purple milkshakes at the Purple Cow.
But is Foxcroft a place for nearly 50 dogs to frolic outside while owners go about their daily routines?
Some residents think not.
Many Foxcroft residents have expressed concerns over noise, traffic and other adverse effects associated with the proposed doggy day care on 7820 Cantrell Rd.
“We love pets. We love dogs. We do not love the idea of multiple dogs barking from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day,” said Foxcroft resident Robin Reynolds in a meeting with the Little Rock Planning Commission on March 11.
The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday, June 1, to vote on the application for a planned commercial district for Bark Avenue LLC after the applicant, Regan Ellis, appealed the Planning Commission’s recommendation of denial.
“My initial reaction (to the proposal) was absolutely not,” said Jennifer Selig, who lives near the intersection of Foxcroft and Huntington Road. “My family spends a lot of time outside and is very concerned about the noise.”
During the March meeting, Ellis assured neighbors that she would implement proper sound barriers to deter noise, some of which include an 8-foot privacy wall, sound curtains and echo barriers like ones used along interstates.
Ellis said dogs will be accompanied by staff throughout the day, not all dogs will be outside at the same time and that no dogs would be outside after 8 p.m. In addition, Ellis has set aside a portion of the property closest to the neighborhood that will not be used by dogs.
Xuan Yi of Shie Ji Acupuncture and Chiropractic is less than hopeful about the additional noise in the neighborhood. For a business that relies on ambience and relaxation, the sound of barking dogs is not ideal.
“I don’t think (our patients) will like it,” Yi said. “We already have to deal with lawn mowing sounds a lot and occasional barking from the vet clinic.”
For some residents, what is more worrisome about the proposed doggy daycare is the increase in traffic.
Customers leaving the businesses on W Street are forced to turn right due to a median located in the center of Foxcroft Road. This often results in drivers turning around in residential driveways or parking lots of nearby businesses to get back on Cantrell Road.
According to Brandon Bradley, Bark Avenue would create additional traffic that could be dangerous for children. A bus stop for Pulaski Heights Middle School sits near a parking lot where Bradley said he suspects people dropping off their dogs might turn around.
“It’s a recipe for disaster and potentially a major injury with a child getting hurt,” Bradley said.
A parent of two young children, resident Chris McNulty echoes Bradley’s position on safety.
“My initial concern is that the traffic coming out of that ‘drive-thru’ is going to get exponentially worse,” McNulty said.
McNulty has witnessed many make U-turns in the middle of Foxcroft Road or illegally turn left from the Bellevue Animal Clinic. He fears that the addition of a business nearby will increase the risk of an accident.
Bradley and many other neighbors favor a traffic study before the City Board approves Bark Avenue to move in.
According to attorney Cliff McKinney who represents Ellis, the doggy day care would be a “much less intense use” than the alternatives that could go into the commercially zoned property.
“The building where the business is planning on being located has been an eyesore for quite some time,” Selig said. “The thought of a business in that space was positive, but I still have concerns over the noise.”
Foxcroft residents generally agree that a new business in place of the derelict building would add value to the neighborhood. So far, there is no consensus on what that business would look like.
For Selig, the customers Bark Avenue would bring to the neighborhood are preferable to those of some of the alternatives, such as a gas station.
In contrast, Reynolds, who lives in condominiums near the property the noise pollution from Bark Avenue makes the business unfavorable to the neighborhood.
“Our neighborhood welcomes business and promotes growth. We would love to see a new, successful business located at 7820 Cantrell Rd. that would flourish and add value to our neighborhood without negatively impacting our neighborhood with noise pollution,” Reynolds said at the initial meeting.
The City Board is expected to make its decision on Tuesday, June 1, on whether to approve Bark Avenue.
Applicant Regan Ellis was unavailable for comment.
A Little Rock native, Sophie Bravo is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.