New Pacific Palisades Dog Park Inches Closer (Video)

By Sue Pascoe
Editor

Establishing an off-leash dog park in Pacific Palisades, a seemingly unattainable goal, is suddenly moving closer to reality.

The L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) will hold a community meeting in January to review three proposed sites and seek input from residents.

Each potential site is on the uphill side of Temescal Canyon Park along Temescal Canyon Road.

The first area is north of the playground, close to where the food trucks park, a short distance above PCH. There would be space for both a fenced large-dog and small-dog park.

The second site, about 29,000 sq. ft., is more vertical and further north. It is smaller than either of the other options, but would still have large- and small-dog sections. 

The area along Temescal Canyon Road near the food trucks is one of the proposed sites for an off-leash dog park.

The third location, further uphill, is about one-third of the way up the canyon with more square footage plus knolls and shade. Situated in the center of the canyon, between PCH and the Palisades Charter High School, it would not be as affected by beach or school parking.

At all three spaces, water is available. The ground cover would be dirt and shredded bark, rather than grass. Trees inside the area would be fenced so that dogs would not have access to them.

This plan was revealed at the Oct. 13 meeting of the Palisades Dog Park Working Group. Attendees included five Pacific Palisades residents; six people from Rec and Parks, including three landscape designers, a head gardener, the head of maintenance and an arborist; and two members of Councilman Mike Bonin’s staff (field representative Lisa Cahill and District Director Debbie Dyner-Harris).

The Rec and Park team is waiting for CD-11’s support to get design concepts done, but Dyner-Hadevelopment exemption permit once it has a source of funding. That permit requires that the project cost less than $399,000. Dog park working group members intend to apply for Measure A funds.

Starting in June, the dog park group examined 11 potential sites in the Palisades. All were rejected except for those along Temescal Canyon Road. Since the city owns the property, it will not have to worry about purchasing any land.

The quest for a Palisades dog park goes back close to 10 years, when proponents suggested land along PCH, just west of Potrero Canyon and below Via de las Olas. The campaign was stymied by neighborhood opposition.

Meanwhile, various dog owners—in defiance of city park regulations that all 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 asked L.A. Rec and Parks to identify community recreational needs. At a hearing in Brentwood, a dog park was the second most requested item in 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.”

After that meeting, resident Leslie Campbell began collecting signatures to support a dog park. She presented the first 1,000 signatures to Councilman Bonin in May 2016. By January 2017, she had collected 4,000.

That same month Bonin submitted a resolution to the Parks and River Committee that stated: “I therefore move that the Council 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 to create a plan for a dog park creation.”

By the March City Council election, Campbell had received promised dog park support not only from Bonin, but from challengers Mark Ryavek and Robin Rudisell.

A week after Bonin easily won re-election on March 7, Campbell received an email from District Director Dyner-Harris confirming that Rec and Parks would be forming the dog park committee.

At the April 19 Park Advisory Board meeting, members expressed support for the committee per Bonin’s motion, but later learned Bonin’s January motion had never been passed by the River and Parks Committee.

PAB then passed a resolution that Rec and Parks work with CD-11 to establish a working group to assess potential locations and identify potential funding sources to create a dog park.

For more information, contact palisadesdogpark@gmail.com.

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