Summary of SAP position opposing Change of Use of Astro Park/Eastshore Park: "Right Idea, Wrong Place"

Fences, wood chips and dirt. At this central intersection of Lake Merritt?

Welcome ODOG members! Many of the members of Save Astro Park are also past, present and future dog owners; indeed 90 of the individuals who wrote letters to Planning to oppose this site for a dog park said so themselves in writing, and the Planning Commissioners themselves spoke of their dog ownership in rejecting the plan. Being supportive of more spaces for dogs in general does not equate to being supportive of this particular proposal to put in a fenced, wood chipped urban dog park at this valuable, much-loved, variously used location surrounded by heavy traffic. We believe that the dogs, dog-owners and people of Oakland would be better served by other plans than this. Feel free to explore our site and read the documents we have assembled related to this issue.

Executive Summary

Astro Park, also known as Eastshore Park, is ODOG’s proposed location for the Lakeview Dog Play Area.  The following document was prepared by Save Astro Park (www.saveastropark.org), a group of citizens living near Lake Merritt who oppose this dog run. The document details specific reasons why this central parkland is the wrong choice for a fenced dog area. The information is presented in a format that addresses the conditional use permit application process including: change of use considerations, principles of open space and fit with Oakland’s Master Plan.

Save Astro Park strongly believes that the Lakeview Dog Park is in a highly unsuitable location that would adversely impact those currently using the space including park visitors, children, business owners, city staff and even the dogs for which this facility is planned.  Additionally, the submitted use application does not comply with the OSCAR (Open Space, Conservation and Recreation) Element of the City’s General Plan, which is state-mandated policy for evaluating a project of this kind—a project that proposes to take open space and convert it to another use.

A recently held, widely attended community meeting showed that 70% of the people in attendance found the location of this proposal to be problematic regardless of whether or not they were for or against the dog park. In light of the community concerns as well as policy considerations we ask that the application for a minor conditional use permit for the Lakeview Dog Play Area be denied.

Opposition Argument Summary

  • Locating a dog park in the middle of a highly visible, high density retail environment is inappropriate and unwise fiscally and aesthetically.
  • The dog park would remove 50% of an open playfield currently depended upon by residents and schools.
  • Active recreation use is identified by OSCAR as being inadequately served in the Lake Merritt area.
  • Maintaining a dog park in this location is not sustainable. The high visibility requires maintenance standards that could not nor should be left up to a volunteer group.
  • Parking is already stressed in the area. The dog park proposal would only add to the parking demand.
  • The area sits atop two major watershed creeks and is saturated with rain water during winter and spring months.
  • The proposed location is next to a tot lot, raising concerns regarding incompatibility and safety.
  • OSCAR guidelines described above mandate that new dog parks be located in underutilized spaces, not high value, existing playfields.
  • The original dog park proposal followed appropriate process by being reviewed in 2004 and 2006 community meetings, but the design proposal at that time was for a highly improved $400,000 dog park.
  • The cost estimate for the current proposal is $45,000 —only 11% of the original budget.  No pre-development community meetings were held to gather input, even though concerns began surfacing in community email groups in mid-2009.
  • A dog park with a small capital budget and a dubious maintenance strategy should be located in a less visible location.
  • The location is too noisy and too busy for dogs and too dangerous if a dog were to get loose off-leash.
  • There is a much better alternative location for a dog park at Lake Merritt that avoids virtually every concern brought up with the Astro/Eastshore Park location. 
For reference: OSCAR Element of the City's General Plan. Note this document is 85MB and in PDF format. Individual sections are attached below.
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Grace Webber,
Jul 11, 2011, 11:23 AM
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