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Zoning Code Amendment Could Allow Animal Hospitals in City’s Central District

Planning Commission will hear about the issue Wednesday 

Published on Monday, October 26, 2020 | 5:21 am
(Photo by David Mark / Pixabay)

The Planning Commission at its meeting next week will consider a zoning code amendment that would permit animal hospitals in the city’s central district.

The Central District, states a city report, is the city’s “urban core and primary civic, business, financial, retail, entertainment and cultural center, with direct access to the Del Mar, Memorial Park, and Lake Metro Gold Line stations.”

The area includes Old Pasadena, the Civic Center, the Pasadena Playhouse, and the South Lake Avenue District.

The urban residential community in the district has continued to grow, and many of the residents have pets, but no immediate access to care for their animals. The amendment would not apply to Old Pasadena.

Currently, there are at least five animal hospitals in Pasadena.


“Animal hospital uses are currently not permitted in five of the six zoning districts in the Central District, forcing those who reside in the Central District to travel further to access these services, often requiring use of a vehicle,” according to the city staff report. 

“By allowing animal hospital uses to be established closer to these neighborhoods, residents will have easier access to these services without the need to travel by car,” the report states.

The amendment would clarify the meaning of what qualifies as “entirely enclosed” to include roof covering to prevent open-air enclosures, establish a soundproofing threshold to ensure noise does not cause a nuisance, and limit hours open to the public to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Grooming hours would be limited and temporary boarding of animals would only be allowed for 30 days for clients of the animal hospital, and only if ancillary to the animal hospital use,  hospital staff would be required to be present and accessible via telephone at all times animals are present.

Currently, animal hospital uses are only permitted by-right in the city’s general commercial and industrial zoning districts, in areas that are generally not close to residential neighborhoods where noise impacts, odors, long hours of operation, and frequent vehicle stops for pick-up and drop-off would impact residents. 

Staff members held a study session with the Planning Commission on Sept. 23. During that meeting, commission members expressed support for the issue and asked staff to prepare more detailed recommendations for further consideration, including specific standards to ensure operations are compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and do not cause impacts. 

The matter will be taken up by the City Council at a later date.

“Changing the land use permissions to allow animal hospitals as a permitted use in all zoning districts except for Old Pasadena while requiring a robust set of operational standards would encourage the establishment of this critical service while minimizing the potential for negative impacts to neighbors and businesses,” according to the staff report signed by Planning Director David Reyes. 

“These amendments would make the Central District a more complete residential neighborhood that truly allows residents to circulate without cars, thereby furthering two of the General Plan’s guiding principles,” the report states.

The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28 and can be viewed at

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