Montague veterinary clinic gets permit for new building to expand services

Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic, which opened in 1998, currently sits at 68 Sunderland Road (Route 47) in Montague.

Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic, which opened in 1998, currently sits at 68 Sunderland Road (Route 47) in Montague. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic at 68 Sunderland Road (Route 47) in Montague is hoping to build a new facility at 2 Fosters Road directly across the street.

The Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic at 68 Sunderland Road (Route 47) in Montague is hoping to build a new facility at 2 Fosters Road directly across the street. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 01-05-2024 2:23 PM

Modified: 01-05-2024 5:45 PM


MONTAGUE — The Zoning Board of Appeals has granted a special permit for the construction of a veterinary building and parking area at 2 Fosters Road, allowing Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic to expand its services.

Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic, which first opened in 1998, currently sits at 68 Sunderland Road (Route 47). The clinic’s goal is to build a larger, 4,000-square-foot facility across the street, more than doubling the 1,200 square feet of space at its current site.

A hearing for the special permit to construct the new building began on Nov. 29. However, the initial hearing revealed to the ZBA that the current clinic was missing a special permit to operate. The veterinary clinic is located in the Ag-Forestry District that allows only for agricultural, forestry and residential use.

ZBA members found they needed more information before granting a special permit for the business to operate in the Ag-Forestry District, and put the hearing on hold until Wednesday. At that time, a petition created by Windy Hollow Veterinary Clinic, with signatures of support from 177 residents, was presented.

“Our plans are complete to build an attractive hospital that blends with the pastoral setting. We need your support to communicate to the Montague Zoning Board that this business is a wanted and necessary business to support all of the beloved pets and farm animals in the town,” the petition reads.

According to Jessica Burge, licensed veterinary technician and practice manager, the clinic wants to ensure there is enough space to take on new clients. Burge said that, since the start of the pandemic in 2020, there has been an surge of households getting pets across the country. Windy Hollow is one of the few local veterinary clinics that still accepts new clients.

“We are making it more accessible for the community to be seen,” Burge said.

In addition to the petition, three letters of support and multiple verbal comments were given by abutters and customers, including some who drive long distances for Windy Hollow’s services.

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One letter of support was written by Montague Police Chief Christopher Williams.

“As police chief I feel that it would be safer for customers to enter and exit Fosters Road instead of their current driveway,” Williams’ letter reads. “The new facility would be on the outside portion of the curve, which I feel would make it safer overall. Again, I see no issues with a new facility being built on the projected site.”

In her letter, Windy Hollow client Lynn Pelland wrote, “Our area is in dire need of veterinary care. … Allowing for this expansion would allow them to grow the veterinary care and provide the community with the much-needed vet care to more animals in the area.”

Many loyal customers testified that they not only get their cats and dogs treated at the clinic, but Windy Hollow also provides services for farm animals. The clinic also treats small farm animals like chickens, which clients said can often be difficult to come by.

Several people in support of the expansion suggested that since the veterinary clinic treats farm animals, it should qualify as agricultural use. However, the ZBA did not agree and opted to grant the special permit instead.

The clinic still needs approval from the Planning Board, according to Burge. A timeline for breaking ground is unclear, she said, but they hope to start construction within the year.

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.