Dog Park Implementation Creeps Along

(Editor’s note: Palisades dog lovers have asked for a dog park for decades–CTN will chronicle this story until some sort of resolution happens in 2024: either the park moves forward or it’s decided the project is dead. At the rate this project is going, cancer will be cured before a dog park is dedicated here.)

The proposed location for the Palisades Dog Park would be along Temescal Canyon Road.

For decades, dog lovers in Pacific Palisades have tried to construct a dog park. The Council office with Councilman Bill Rosendahl tried to help implement it at the bottom of Potrero.

But voices from the Via de las Olas bluffs were negative claiming that parking on local streets would impact neighbors and that the fumes from dog feces would waft to the bluffs. Neighbors threatened lawsuits against the City.

The matter was dropped, but dog lovers continued (and continue) to illegally use the baseball playing fields, the Rec Center front lawn and now the George Wolfberg Park as off-leash dog parks.

In 2015, at a hearing at Brentwood, held by L.A. Rec and Parks, a dog park was the most requested item from Palisades residents in attendance.

Resident Leslie Campbell started collecting resident signatures in support of a dog park. By 2017, she had collected 4,000, which were sent to Councilman Mike Bonin’s office.

In 2017, 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.”

The Dog Park Working Group canvassed potential sites, including contacting Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy about the former YMCA pool site,  potentially working with the YMCA to use part of Simon Meadow, the DWP site by Marquez, a site on Sunset  and RAP-owned land along Temescal Canyon Road.  For various reasons, all of the other alternatives were eliminated and the RAP site near the playground on Temescal Canyon was selected.  One of the biggest benefits of this site was that there was no cost to develop it.

Former Councilman Mike Bonin

Bonin’s office made it clear the City had no money to help with the $750,000 project, which would include a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) assessment. (In the meantime, the City helped build Westwood’s $800,000 dog park, through Rec and Parks.)

At a Pacific Palisades Community Council July 2019 meeting, Bonin said, “The dog park remains a priority for me. Rec and Park (RAP) will look at Measure A funds.”

Measure A, a parcel tax for L.A. County passed in November 2016 with an almost 75 percent approval rating. The funding was specifically for L.A. City/County playgrounds and parks.

In 2017, the Measure went to court because A lawsuit was filed against the County/Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD). In July 2017, the Court ruled in favor of RPOSD/County and Measure A.

During the 2019 meeting, Bonin handed out a pamphlet, which stated that one of his accomplishments was creating a new dog park in Pacific Palisades.

What the pamphlet did not say was that dog park activists who had been promised Measure A money, learned the money had been voted in April 2018 by the City Council to go to Crestwood Park and then Rustic Canyon – but not the dog park.

Dog park organizers only learned of that vote when a West Hollywood resident, who was advocating for his area, requested information and emails through a public records search and discovered the dog park had been slated for funds. He alerted local residents.

Bonin suggested at 2019 Community Council meeting that instead of his support for Measure A funds, residents could raise the money for a dog park like they had for the bocce ball courts at the Rec Center.

Bonin decided not to run again, and Park ran against Erin Darling in November 2022.

Some Palisades dog lovers voted for her because she promised to bring the dog park to completion.

STEPS FOR A DOG PARK:

  1. Councilmember Traci Park

    Traci Park needs to tell RAP that she supports using Measure A funds for the Palisades Dog Park and ask them to write a grant application.

  2. RAP’s Bill Jones is charge of writing grant applications for Measure A projects. Possibly RAP’s Craig Raines (landscape designer who designed the Palisades Dog Park) and Cathie Santo Domingo will also be involved with he project.
  3. Lynn Miller, member of the Palisades dog park group and a former member of the Palisades Park Advisory Board, has offered to write the grant if RAP is short of help.
  4. Once the grant is written, and Measure A funds are allocated for the Dog Park, the project would need to go before the California Coastal Commission.
  5. The Dog Park will also need to receive approval from RAP’s Board of Commissioners before development can begin.

Miller wrote that Park’s field deputy Michael Amster and District Director Gabriela Medina, had met with RAP, who had said there was a four-year implementation plan for a dog park.

“When I saw Traci at her Christmas party, she said she wanted to shorten that,” Miller said. “She is definitely supporting the dog park.”

Could the Community Council help push this project? Leslie Campbell shared a 2023 email with CTN from Community Council President Maryam Zar who wrote, “The Dog Park is not a PPCC matter it’s just something we support.”

 

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3 Responses to Dog Park Implementation Creeps Along

  1. leslie Campbell says:

    Traci Park HAS officially given the Palisades Dog Park the green light and she made the announcement at the PPCC Jubilee, and it is to be fully funded by Measure A and RAP. We are currently working on that with CD11. The Maryam Zar letter/comment is taken out of context and it should also be said that the PPCC has gone to GREAT lengths to support our dog park including years of letters by Maryam, David Card and Chris Spitz to CD11 encouraging our project. If anything, they deserve our thanks. As does Traci Park who is sincere in bringing this project to fruition! We will get this done…

  2. Sue says:

    This is from a PPCC story in March “My Mistake: No Dog Park on Agenda” so the entire Zar comment can be seen.

    This editor had clicked on the March 23 meeting agenda and saw that President Maryam Zar, under her reports and concerns, had written a letter about the dog park with a link.
    Zar wrote, “It [dog park] takes on a ‘new urgency’ as people come to GWPPC (George Wolfberg Park at Potrero) to enjoy the wonderful trails and fabulous vistas with their dogs, and often allow them off-leash in the coastal landscape. Unfortunately, these off-leash dogs threaten the delicate riparian habitat and topography of this well-planned, passive-use park.”
    The letter is under the president’s report, but the dog park will not be on the agenda.
    In an email (cc’d to this editor) to Leslie Campbell, one of the people leading the effort to get a park, Zar wrote, “Leslie, It’s not on the agenda this Thursday. It was a few weeks ago when you were there and I wrote a letter to the city in support, after the board told me I should, and cc’d you. You’ve since answered that email and it has prompted you to be in touch with the Council Office on it (string in which I am included — there are likely many you are on without me).”
    “The Dog Park is not a PPCC matter it’s just something we support. Not an agenda item that I can foresee,” Zar said.

    There is a difference between encouraging and actually writing a letter to Park and Rec and Parks asking that Measure A funds be used.

  3. leslie Campbell says:

    For the record, the only reason I reached out to them was that you erroneously posted that our project was on the agenda…which, of course, I questioned. I was merely fact checking which I would appreciate your doing before you print my name in association with this extremely important project.

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