Coverage of Astro Park and the dog park development proposal at the Oakland City Council meeting has been postponed beyond the September 18th Council meeting due to an absence on the proponent's end during that timeframe. We will keep you posted and let you know the new date as soon as we know. Thanks for everyone's support!
On Wednesday May 2nd, the Oakland Planning Commission denied the conditional use permit for the Lakeview Dog Play Area.
Here is news coverage from after the meeting:
According to the Trust for Public Land, Seattle turns out to be a model city where a dog owner group called COLA (Citizens for Off Leash Areas) pushed for reforms in the 90’s when the off-leash trend began escalating. One of the most powerful things the group did was to help identify about 70 possible sites, with a pilot program taking place in eight of these sites. The pilot plan showed that the city could take charge. Additionally, this pilot plan helped to identify criteria that would make for successful site location. Those criteria turned out to be:
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission met on July 13th to hear presentations on and objections to the alternative location and the Astro Park proposal. 18 people spoke out in opposition to the Astro Park proposal. The Commissioners voted (3 for, 3 against, 1 abstention) not to issue any recommendation to the Planning department as to whether to approve or reject the change of use of this space.
We were told that Since PRAC is an advisory body, the decision by PRAC not to recommend the change of use does not stop the change of use application proceeding to the planning department. Council staff promised an update with next steps would come soon after the meeting, as of 20th August we have not received that update.
See the East Bay Express article by Nate Seltenrich
"For years, residents have been led to believe that the only possible location for the fenced dog run was a lawn near the lake's northeastern corner, where MacArthur Boulevard and Lakeshore Avenue meet. That's precisely what has made the project controversial, with many residents arguing that the site's high visibility makes it inappropriate for a dog park. Proponents, including CouncilwomanNancy Nadel, have insisted that there is no other option. But an alternative site has surfaced that has the support of Councilwoman Pat Kernighan and appears to be favored by bothPublic Works and Parks and Recreation."
"The main improvement is that it doesn't take away an open space that's currently in use, and that it's shielded by trees and shrubs from view," said Councilwoman Kernighan. "It does not pose an aesthetic problem, and it doesn't take away any open space. ... I think it's a better choice." And so do city staff in both Parks and Recreation and Public Works, she said.
And even Emily Rosenberg of ODOG sees some merit in the location: "Still, she said that the police horse stables could make for an excellent dog park — perhaps in addition to the Lakeview site"
A beautiful spring evening brought the people of Oakland out to Lake Merritt to relax and have fun in the lovely evening light. Our photographer captured some of the feeling of the evening.
Stunning insight, eh? Well, it's true too for Astro Park. Plans for the dog run don't involve putting in any lighting. Yet the proposal is to keep the run open for use until 10pm every night, summer and winter. We went to take some photos of the space at 9:30pm.
Wondering why there haven't been many people walking about on Astro Park (aside from the childrens play area) recently? So were we... until we tried to set foot on it. We went and bought suitable footgear and tried again. See what we found...
Inspired by the idea that Ohlone Dog Park in Berkeley represents a great example of what a fenced in dog run with wood chips can be, we went to take a look. We were very concerned.
See our photos here.
Councilmembers Nancy Nadel and Pat Kernighan thanked those who participated at the Community Meeting for listening to their neighbors' concerns and participating in a civil discourse. There is much work still to be done! See updates on local newspapers' takes on the meeting at our Media page.