Monday, April 24, 2006

Public Comment Period for Dog Parks to begin soon

The dog lovers in the neighborhood are probably all aware that the Mayor signed a bill last fall that authorized dog parks in the District. The time has finally come for our input - the following announcement is from Sharon Dendy of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation:

As stated by Director Flowers, we are engaging other District and Federal agencies in a series of meetings pertaining to dog parks. Topics have ranged from siting and the application process to enforcement, maintenance and waste management. These meetings will help determine the rules and regulations for the off-leash areas and once concluded, DPR will begin the process of synthesizing the information into a draft document to be presented to OAG for legal sufficiency review.

In addition to the interagency meetings, approx. 3-4 public meetings will be held to explain the new dog park law and what that entails. These meetings will address the community process for requesting a dog park as well as the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for those agencies and community partners involved. Comments from these public meetings will also be incorporated into the draft document for OAG and upon completion of the review, the rules will be published for 30-days giving residents another opportunity to provide their final comments.

Regarding next steps, the interagency meetings will continue for the next 4 weeks and the public meetings are tentatively set to begin by early April. And once the 30-day public comment period has been satisfied, DPR should be ready to accept applications. But for now, we recommend residents interested in dog parks and learning more about the process to attend one of the public meetings. They should also start to organize themselves and come up with a game plan to help maintain and manage a dog park. DPR will require that each 'sponsor' group play a role in the maintenance and management of their dog park and this forethought will definitely help in the long run.

Please check the DPR website over the next few weeks for updates regarding the public meetings and the application process.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sharon directly at 202-673-7692 or via email.