The pink dots are where the city has off-leash dog parks now – in West Seattle, for example, Westcrest Park is the only one. Will more be added – and if so, where? A key step toward deciding that could come next Thursday night, when the Seattle Parks Board discusses, and might vote on, the draft People, Dogs, and Parks Strategic Plan.
You can see documents for the meeting here – including the points that board members are being asked to decide on Thursday night, spelled out in this “decision agenda” memo. It includes proposed changes to the draft plan, and also asks the board to affirm whether new off-leash areas would only be fenced sites – ruling out “leash-optional trails.” And the board will be asked to affirm the plan’s proposed policies for regulating professional dog walkers if they use off-leash areas – with a $100 annual license and requirements for certification if they seek to bring more than three dogs to an OLA after the first two years following passage of the plan.
Ahead of next Thursday’s meeting, the group Citizens for Off-Leash Areas has been circulating a survey asking for more suggestions for “pilot” off-leash spots – find it here. The survey’s introduction says Seattle Parks asked the group to come up with more possible locations. We asked Parks if that was indeed how they were soliciting site suggestions, rather than putting out a call to the public. Spokesperson Christina Hirsch replied:
When the final People, Dogs and Parks Plan is released in March, it will outline a process for the public to submit applications for off-leash locations. This process will be open to all, including groups and individual residents. Seattle Parks and Recreation will form a committee to review the applications and the Superintendent will make the final decision. This process will go through a public involvement process and community outreach.
COLA has worked in collaboration with SPR during the Off-Leash Area Master Plan process. COLA came to SPR with a list of off-leash location recommendations and we suggested that they develop a more comprehensive and geographically balanced list. It appears they are developing that revised list by soliciting community feedback.
COLA’s recommendations will go along with submissions from the community application process.
In the meantime, Thursday night’s board meeting considering the strategic plan is open to the public – 6:30 pm January 12th, at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.).