By Susan Gonsalves, Contributing writer
WESTBOROUGH – According to architect Tracie Reed, a proposed emergency veterinary care office in Westborough would “bridge the gap” between a traditional family practice and an emergency health care setting.
Reed appeared before the board of directors on June 22 on behalf of Rarebreed Veterinary Partners to present a site plan to locate a 2,800 square foot space at 1 Oak Street near the intersection of Lyman Street and from route 9.
She explained that PetMedic Urgent Veterinary Care would occupy the far left of a plaza that also houses a Chipotle restaurant and a FedEx storefront.
The site has 167 existing parking spaces. PetMedic expects to use 14, she said. The opening hours would be from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., and there will be no overnight stays or boarding at the establishment.
The idea is a check-in / check-out set up for animals with cuts and scrapes and other non-urgent medical needs.
âIt’s exactly the same as urgent care for humans,â Reed said.
Reed’s appearance before council took place two weeks before the planning council considered the special permit application for this project.
The board of directors made suggestions and recommendations on the plan which will be forwarded during the planning board review.
For example, Select Board member Shelby Marshall suggested there should be a designated drop-off area in front of the building for people who might have trouble getting their pets inside.
Reed responded that the owners will be on site all the time with their pets. Animal patients that clinic staff see should be able to move around on their own, Reed said.
City planner Jim Robbins, who was in attendance at the June 22 board meeting, liked the idea of ââa drop-off area. He suggested that Reed contact the owner to incorporate two locations into the plan. He noted that such an area could be very busy, adding that this could pose a liability issue.
The interior features of this project include four examination rooms as well as treatment, pharmacy and diagnostic areas with one physician per team. Reed noted that there was no outdoor recreation area for animals “like any other doctor’s office.”
Select board chairman Allen Edinberg said it would be beneficial to have an outdoor space for animals to relieve themselves so they don’t “wander to nearby businesses or lawns. ” to this end.
Marshall noted that emergency care should have clearly marked receptacles for the disposal of animal waste.
Additionally, Edinberg pointed out that the facility would be next to a dental office. He said he knew his “puppy” would be very loud if he was sick or injured, and he didn’t want to see the dental office disturbed by noise. Reed said she would look into whether there would be hours of overlap between that office, Smileland, and PetMedic.
Reed also said that PetMedic will be “very sensitive” soundproofing problems and the measures to be taken.
She said the business is centered on the values ââof love, respect, fun and kindness. By having a second shift, it allows vets to spend time with their families during the day and avoid being on call during off-peak hours.
She noted that 90 percent of emergency hospital visits do not require surgery or hospitalization. Since emergencies are dealt with first, wait times in these hospital settings can be four to six hours for animals without traumatic and serious injuries. This is where PetMedic fits in, Reed said.
PetMedic also currently has an office in Watertown.