City Council Rejects Monterey Park Dog Park Location
By Nancy Martinez, EGP Staff Writer
Following more than an hour of passionate testimony from residents, Monterey Park’s city council decided not to move forward with plans to build a dog park at one of the city’s parks, citing a number of concerns for nearby residents.
The council chamber was filled with residents who spoke for or against a proposed off-leash dog park being considered for Garvey Ranch Park along Orange Avenue during a special meeting held last week.
Residents opposed to the proposed location clearly outnumbered those in favor.
“We’re not saying we’re against [a dog park], I think the location is just not suitable,” said Councilmember Mitchell Ing, himself a dog owner
Citing the impact to traffic, parking, noise, odor and sanitation, the proposed location – a vacant lot near the park’s tennis courts – was just too close for comfort for some residents.
“You can pick up the dog poop but you can’t pick up the piss,” said resident Keith Miller who was concerned urine could seep into the underground water pipes owned by the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District.
However, some residents pointed out that in addition to animal control patrols, dog owners tend to self-regulate to ensure everybody picks up after their pet.
“You think they [police] will waste their time to go down and give tickets for not picking up poo poo?” asked resident Paul Perez. “Come on let’s be realistic.”
Some residents stated they are willing to mitigate the problem by volunteering to clean the park, offsetting maintenance costs to the city.
Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian is a dog owner and was the only member of the council to express support for the project. She said responsible dog owners should not be penalized for those who are irresponsible.
Mayor Pro Tem Hans Liang, who also owns a dog, argued that it would be difficult to guarantee that all dogs are properly socialized and vaccinated.
With no action by the council, the motion to approve the new park died.
City staff has been playing around with the idea of building a dog park since last year when the city approved a $3.2 million park master plan that proposed a dog park that would operate during daylight hours and have separate areas for smaller and larger dogs.
Initially, city staff proposed Elder Park but quickly withdrew the recommendation citing the locations proximity to homes and schools as a problem.
EGP previously reported a public hearing for the proposed site in October of last year attracted over 50 residents.
City Manager Paul Talbot said the city will continue to look for other vacant pockets of lands that would be appropriate for a dog park.
As for the vacant land at Garvey Ranch Park, Real Sebastian decided that her next park beautification would be tentatively planned for that location.
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May 15, 2014 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.