At the Sept 11, 2013 Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) meeting, the Commission voted 6-1 to recommend the approval of the Minor Conditional Use Permit! It’s just the first step though in getting this park built.
On Sept. 11th PRAC heard a motion to recommend approval of the Minor Conditional Use Permit (MCUP) to the Planning Department. Parks and Recreation staff has recommended that the proposal be approved. At the meeting, 17 speakers spoke on both sides of the issue; the majority were in favor. A handful of residents of the Regillius luxury apartments spoke against the proposal, mainly on the theory that they will be affected by noise and that a nearby dog park would negatively affect their property values.
Mayor Quan briefly attended the meeting to speak in favor of the dog park, saying that the city has “been unfair” to people with dogs, and that Snow Park was a great compromise in creating a safe and legal space for people to go with their dogs. Staff from the office of Council member Lynette Gibson McIlhenney also spoke in favor of the dog park, mentioning that the Council member was strongly in favor of the proposal, and that dog parks create community space, and are effective in deterring crime.
Commissioners asked questions about costs, and the city’s architect estimated that it would cost somewhere near $200,000 to build (in comparison, the children’s play area being built at Snow Park is estimated to cost $300,000). Most of that money would be privately raised by ODOG. Commissioners were also concerned about maintenance, and voted to include an amendment to the MCUP proposal to include a recommendation that the city enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ODOG about maintenance (ODOG has long-standing MOUs with the city for the city’s other dog parks, such as in Joaquin Miller Park.) The motion to recommend the passage of the MCUP was passed by PRAC 6-1. Commission Chair Barry Miller was the lone dissenting vote, saying he’d prefer the park to remain as-is: a largely unused lawn, and he’d rather see a dog park created similarly to the new Latham Square project, where a street was reclaimed for park use.
Staff from the Planning Department said that the next step was that the proposal for the MCUP would now go to the Planning Department, who would write a report. There would then be a 17 day public comment period, after which Planning would administratively make a decision. Once the decision is made, there is a ten day appeal period. If appealed, it would then go to the Planning Commission, who would be the final word. It would not go to City Council, as did the Astro Park controversy.
The proposed dog park at Snow Park (19th & Harrison) is finally on the agenda for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) for Wednesday, September 11, 4:30 pm. According to the PRAC Staff Report, staff is recommending that the Committee accept the approval of the Minor Conditional Use Permit for this project.
The Snow Park site is the spot that Mayor Quan, along with the Parks and Recreation Department, identified as an alternative to the Lakeview Park location (Lakeshore and MacArthur), that City Council deadlocked on last December.
Snow Park is a lovely spot, and an ideal location for a neighborhood dog park, and would serve the Lake Merritt area well. The addition of the dog park would be part of a complete overhaul of the park: adding park space, improving existing amenities, removing a road, and making it more accessible to the parkland across the street at the lake. As with any project in Oakland, there are a few people against it, and this dog park project, along with the overall improvements to Snow Park is no different.
We know we’ve asked you to come to many meetings, and we’re going to ask one more time. Please take time to come to this meeting. We’re way down on the agenda, so if you can’t make it for the start of the meeting, that’s OK. Just come! The project’s opponents will definitely be there. Remember to fill out a speaker’s card when you arrive, even if you don’t want to speak. You can always cede your time to someone else.
As always, we thank you for your continued support! Hopefully we’ll be socializing in this flagship dog park very soon!
WHEN: Wed., Sept 11. Meeting starts at 4:30, but we’re way down on the agenda
WHERE: Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave
The Oakland City Council will hear our appeal on Tuesday, December 4th at 5:30 pm. It’s very important that we have a large number of our supporters there. Please join us! City Hall is at One Frank Ogawa Plaza (14th & Broadway). There is a parking lot one block away at 14th & Clay, and 12th Street/City Center BART is one block away. If you need a ride to the meeting, email us and we will hook you up.
This will be our last chance to get a small slice of off-leash space in central Oakland. All of the parkland in the Lake Merritt area is completely off-limits to people with dogs, even on leash. All we are asking for is half an acre. Help us end this inequity.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP OUR CAUSE:
- Come to the meeting on December 4th. If you want to speak, let us know. We’d be happy to help you with speaking points if you’d like.
- Write to City Council, and tell them to approve this park. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, use our handy form, send a handwritten letter to Council, Oakland City Hall, One Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612, Call your City Council member.
- Watch our videos, and spread the word to your friends.
- If you haven’t already, please join our Facebook page. We will keep you posted on next steps.
- Share our post on Facebook about this meeting, and tell your friends to come.
- If you’d like to volunteer to help, send us an email.