January 30, 2023

Bellaire City Council members were unable to make a decision on where to house a new dog kennel after suggestions were offered to city officials, alternative and more viable options alongside the two unveiled by the Bellaire Police Department on Jan. 23 to investigate.

The original idea to replace and relocate the city’s dog kennel arose more than a year ago when council members first reached out to their police department for proposals in November 2021. At the January 2023 meeting, Police Chief Onesimo Lopez Jr. presented two options: one on a vacant lot owned by the city at 1311 N. 1st St., Bellaire, which Chief Lopez mentioned was a seven-minute drive from Bellaire Police Station was away. The potential site would be in an industrial center and would cost at least $300,000, not counting compliance or zoning-related costs.

The second option was a location on a vacant lot owned by Texas Pipe & Supply, also in an industrial area outside the city limits, approximately 11 minutes from the police station at 2328 W. Bellfort, Houston. In terms of cost, this option would include a $100,000 donation from the Jerry and Maury Rubenstein Foundation, with approximately $35,000 borne by the city.

A lengthy discussion ensued between Mayor Andrew Friedberg and other council members about the pros and cons of both options.

“The tail wags the dog here. I don’t want to change the zoning to incorporate it into a kennel,” Mayor Andrew Friedberg said.

The Bellaire Police Department has operated the city’s kennel facility at 4300 Edith St. for nearly 50 years. The facility can house up to five dogs in separate, fenced-in pens and averages at least three dogs a day, according to the city.

The following pros and cons were mentioned during the meeting:

First Street option

Pros: The City of Bellaire owns the land which could assist in decision making related to the property; closer proximity to police station, value in keeping police and kennel volunteers close to town.

Disadvantages: zone conflicts; neighboring business complaints about dog barking; estimated cost of $300,000 versus $35,000 for the West Bellfort option; Being municipal property, more time would be needed for approval of deviations and proposals related to the new building.

West Bellfort option

Benefits: $100,000 Rubenstein Foundation donation; turnkey project; 24 hour security because it would exist on Texas Pipe & Supply land

Cons: Safety precautions; Inconvenience due to additional travel time and resources required for police officers and volunteer dog kennels to travel outside city limits, less control over location.

Mayor Friedberg acknowledged that council members had taken time to make a decision.

“Members of the public are saying, ‘Well, do you know why we still haven’t made a decision?’ Yes we admit it took some time as I tried to say before, at least for myself. It’s more important we get it right then [and] try to select only one option.”

impact on the community also reached out to the volunteer group Friends of the Bellaire Pound for comment.

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