Park Will Receive Vital Quimby Funds
Residents in Pacific Palisades have long sought an off-leash dog park in the community. The stumbling block has been two-fold: location and funding.
In the first positive development in years, it was announced at the Park Advisory Board meeting on April 17 that a portion of the $92,000 in Quimby funds dedicated to the Palisades Recreation Center will pay for an environmental study at the proposed site on lower Temescal Canyon Park.
The study could cost $20,000-$30,000 and take up to a year to a complete. From there, the project would go before the California Coastal Commission for approval.
The latest campaign for a dog park started with a request for Measure A funding after the special tax was passed in November 2016. Then, more than 3,000 Palisades residents signed a petition that was sent to Councilman Mike Bonin, requesting a dog park.
In January 2017, a task force was formed and 11 sites were investigated, including the once-proposed Occidental oil-drilling site off PCH near Potrero, sites along Temescal Canyon Park, Simon Meadow, Temescal Gateway State Park, the vacant DWP-owned property off Marquez Avenue, the old Bernheimer Gardens location, the fire road at the top of Lachman Lane, undeveloped land on Sunset adjacent to the Highlands Plaza, Will Rogers State Beach, and park areas in the Highlands and at Will Rogers.
The task force agreed that the ¾-acre parcel of land just north of PCH (by the playground and food trucks) was the best choice because the City would donate the land for a park. (The 33,000-sq.-ft. site is about the size of the dog park at Santa Monica Airport Park.)
Next, more than $500,000 (the initial estimated cost two years ago) would need to be raised and would include a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) assessment. As a point of reference, the dog park in Westwood cost about $800,000 for grading, fences, benches, fountains for dogs and planting ground cover.
The project came to a halt when the legality of Measure A was challenged by L.A. County resident Jimmie Dondlinger, who argued that this specific Measure was doing an “end run” around Proposition 13 and that there was no uniformity applied to this tax.
A lawsuit was filed in January 2017 against the County/Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD). In July 2017, the Superior Court of L.A. Co. ruled in favor of RPOSD/County and Measure A.
As the case continued to wind through courts, none of the money collected was appropriated.
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Quimby funds was stripped from several Westside recreation centers, including the Palisades.
(Editor’s note: Quimby funds are derived from new-construction fees and are supposed to stay in the area where the fees are generated. But in this case, Quimby funds were taken from Rec Centers and funneled into a proposed Venice Pier project. Once this editor discovered that money was being taken away from the Palisades, Councilman Bonin and Park Director Michael Shull agreed to return the money to individual Rec Centers.)
On January 31 this year, a California appeals court found the Measure A tax complied with the statutory requirement (courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B284932.PDF) and sided with Los Angeles County. On April 18, the California Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
If litigation is indeed over, there may be additional funds from Measure A for the Palisades dog park—more good news for the people who have been working on this project for years.