The Queen Anne Community Council will consider whether to sponsor an application for an off-leash dog park at David Rodgers Park at its Jan. 5 meeting.
At a small meeting of the Queen Anne Community Council Parks Committee, Dec. 14, the majority of the members in attendance were in favor of beginning the process of appealing to the city to turn a second of David Rodgers Park, 2800 First Ave. W., on upper Queen Anne, into an OLA, while two did not support that location.
After witnessing further destruction of neighborhood parks in Queen Anne, QACC Parks Committee Chair Don Harper reintroduced the topic of finding a suitable location for an OLA on the top of Queen Anne in November. He toured David Rodgers Park with a small group of residents, both for and against the idea, and outlined three areas that could be suitable for an off-leash area.
“I will say that the more OLA’s that we have, the greater the chance we have of saving our parks,” Harper said last week. “Our parks are being ruined by the dogs off leash in them.”
Prior to last week’s meeting, Harper said, without an easily accessible dog park on the top of Queen Anne, dog owners have resorted to letting their dogs off-leash at all the local parks and athletic fields, despite it not being permitted. As a result, Harper said, the quality of the parks are deteriorating because dogs tear up the fields and turf and, in some cases, make the playfields unusable. Residents also run the risk of getting ticketed by the city for breaking the rules.
At the parks committee meeting, members discussed ideas on how large a new off-leash dog park would have to be to attract dog owners, as well as parking and traffic concerns on First Avenue West.
Harper pointed out that, while no park is going to satisfy every dog owner, any new dog park that is created will get used over time.
“There aren’t enough parks (in Seattle),” Harper said. “We aren’t buying any parks. So we’ve got to start making do with what we’ve got.”
Paula Mueller, Queen Anne Community Council president, agreed that Queen Anne doesn’t have any place that will be perfect for an OLA.
“Perfection’s not an option, so sometimes we have to go with just good,” she said, adding as long as nobody is being deprived of using David Rodgers Park in favor of an OLA, then it could be an imperfect solution, but better than nothing.
QACC board member and dog park advocate Sharon Levine said any new dog parks permitted by the city are on an 18-month trial basis.
“If there are problems that just can’t be solved in that time, then parks has the option to close the off-leash area,” she said.
At the meeting’s end, Harper said his next step is to present the idea to the full QACC at its next meeting, where he will ask if the council supports sponsoring an application to file with the city.
That will only be the start of the process, however. Harper said once an application is submitted, Seattle Parks will have 30 days to respond. If the preliminary site application is accepted, a formal proposal will be submitted, during which the applicants must demonstrate community support. After that, SPR will open the process up to public comment. The final step is for a review committee to convene after a completed proposal is submitted and make a recommendation to the City Council.
To sign up for the next Community Council meeting, at 7 p.m. Jan. 5, go to qacc.net and click on meetings.
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