Coastal Cat Clinic will be moving from Pedro Point to Eureka Square, to a spot at 150 Eureka Square that once housed a jewelry store.

The feline-only vet clinic required a use permit and a parking exception, which were both granted at the Oct. 18 Pacifica Planning Commission meeting.

There will be interior renovations to the 3,170-square-foot space to accommodate a veterinary clinic. It will have a reception area, offices, exam rooms, various medical and surgical rooms, staff areas and restrooms, said Jacob Garcia, contract planner for the city.

It passed unanimously. One change: Deputy Planning Director Christian Murdock said that the word “domesticated” should be used instead of “small” cat. He also noted some overnight care. “Upon the recommendation of the treating veterinarian, animals may be kept overnight for observation for not more than one night. No boarding will be allowed.” Animal enclosures would be for short-term use.

The hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday  through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The facility will have 12 employees when fully operational, said Garcia.

All animals will be kept within an enclosed soundproof structure with plans created by an acoustical engineer, Garcia said. No odor will escape the property per the conditions of approval, he said.

The parking exception to city code was granted by commissioners. The Eureka Square Shopping Center has 269 parking spaces, said Garcia.The cumulative parking requirement for the shopping center based on the city’s regulations is 344 parking spaces, he said. The veterinary practice requires 16 spaces, a six-space increase from the parking requirements from the previous tenant.

“Less than half the parking lot is ever used,” said Commissioner George Domerat.

Commissioner Samantha Hauser said she had no problem granting the parking exception because of the need for more vets.

Hauser asked if they were going to need additional parking spaces under COVID-19 protocols, when pet owners park in the lot and are met outside by the veterinary assistant to avoid mixing of households in

the business. Beth Frasher of Coastal Cat Clinic said,

by the time they reopen,

they expect to see cats with their owners in person so they won’t need any extra spaces.

The low-intensity feline-only clinic would eliminate a vacancy in Eureka Square Shopping Center, which would enhance the vitality of the center’s operations and upgrade business systems to current building code standards, said Garcia. It would provide an active commercial use that benefits the community and has the potential to draw customers to surrounding businesses, he added.

All the commissioners spoke in favor of the clinic but they did have questions.

Hauser asked about the proximity of the vet clinic to a grocery store and was told by Deputy Planning Director Murdock no additional requirements are needed.

Dave Gasser of the veterinary practice was asked by Hauser what the plan is for an exhaust system. Gasser said the mechanical code requires all animal hospitals to have a high air interchange and odor control. The clinic will use UV filtration so additional pathogens are killed, he said.

Hauser wondered what would happen in the event of a fire if an animal was housed overnight. Gasser said there was a fire alarm system in place.

“Our hospital manager lives in Pacifica and would be able to get to the office in the event of an emergency,” Frasher said. “We have an entire team devoted to the care of the cats.”

In addition, fire sprinklers will be installed in the practice, said Murdock.

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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