Pacific Palisades Dog Park Is a Priority
At the June 27 Pacific Palisades Community Council, Councilman Mike Bonin took questions from the audience.
The room was packed and most of the people were there to support a proposed Palisades dog park.
“The dog park remains a priority for me,” Bonin said. “Rec and Park (RAP) will look at Measure A funds.”
Measure A was passed in 2016. It was a tax increase for L.A. County residents with the money targeted for park funding. A lawsuit temporarily put funding on hold, but at the L.A. City Council meeting this past April, projects were voted on for the next four years.
In the Brentwood-Palisades area, the following were approved: Crestwood Park improvements (year one), Rustic Canyon Park improvements (years two and three), and the Palisades Dog Park (year four).
Measure A requires a community input meeting as part of the application to receive funding. Of the four projects, only the Palisades Dog Park has held one.
At that PPCC meeting, Bonin’s Field Deputy Lisa Cahill told the Palisades Dog Park representatives that the order of projects voted on at the City Council Meeting was just a “placeholder.”
Bonin agreed that the priority list would be revisited at the August City Council meeting, with the Palisades Dog Park being a “priority.”
People in Pacific Palisades who are in favor of a dog park, might call or email Bonin’s office and remind him of his promise.
Palisades residents have been fighting for a dog park for more than 15 years.
Some dog owners – in defiance of City park regulations that dogs must be kept on a leash – continued using the baseball fields at the Recreation Center as a de facto dog park. This misuse resulted in fencing and ticketing.
Fast forward to December 2015, when Los Angeles County officials asked L.A. Rec and Parks to identify community recreational needs. At a hearing in Brentwood, a dog park was the most requested item for Pacific Palisades.
A month later, the Palisades Park Advisory Board passed a resolution, stating that “the PAB notes that a dog park cannot legally be located at the Palisades Recreation Center, and requests that Recreation & Parks look into the creation of an off-leash dog park in Pacific Palisades.”
Simultaneously, with the threatened closing of the Barrington Dog Park, Palisades resident Leslie Campbell began collecting signatures in support of keeping Barrington open or developing a new dog park. She presented the first 1,000 signatures to Bonin in May 2016. By January 2017, she had collected 4,000 signatures.
That same month Bonin submitted a resolution: “I . . . instruct the Department of Recreation and Parks to work with Council District 11 to establish a community-based Pacific Palisades Dog Park working group in order to assess potential dog park locations, identify potential funding sources, and conduct outreach to the community.”
A “dog” group was formed, led by Cahill and PAB member Lynn Hylen.
Three potential sites of existing RAP land along Temescal Canyon Road were identified and one was selected.
Bonin’s office made it clear the City had no money to help with the $750,000 project, which would need a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) assessment.
In the meantime, the City helped build Westwood’s $800,000 dog park, which is under Rec and Parks.
When it was discovered that Quimby funds ($92,000) intended for Pacific Palisades Rec Center had been transferred to a Venice project, the Palisades PAB asked for the money to be returned.
It was announced at the April PAB meeting that a portion of the $92,000 in Quimby funds dedicated to the Palisades Recreation Center would pay for an environmental study ($20,000-$30,000) at the proposed dog park site on lower Temescal Canyon Park. From there, the project would go before the California Coastal Commission for approval.
The next steps are for an Environmental Impact Review to be completed by the Bureau of Engineering, working with RAP. However, RAP has not made progress on the EIR due to the departure of Ramon Barajas in March and the assumption of his duties by the already overextended Cathie Santo Domingo.
But first, Bonin needs to ensure that Measure A money is allocated to the Palisades for a dog park.