How will you be asked to be taxed for Seattle Parks, and what the $ would fund: Park development? Off-leash law enforcers?

The Parks and Green Spaces Levy approved by Seattle voters in 2008 is expiring, and that’s a major reason why the Parks Department has been working on a “Legacy Plan” including what to ask voters for next. The Legacy Plan Citizens’ Advisory Committee meets downtown tonight, and the agenda includes a briefing on potential options that could eventually wind up as part of your property-tax bill, as well as a look at proposals for how to spend the money.

First: The briefing suggests possible temporary or permanent levy-lid lifts, bonds, or creating a permanent Metropolitan Parks District – like Tacoma has – that would have its own property-taxing authority. From the city website, here are the slides for tonight’s briefing:

Seattle Parks presentation for possible voter-approved funding

If you can’t see the slides in that window, you can see the PDF version here. The committee is working toward a December deadline for making recommendations to the City Council and Mayor. Tonight they also will look at the long list of “Investment Initiatives” – what might be funded with whatever money is raised by the next voter-approved measure.

Items of potential West Seattle interest from the 37-proposal list include:

#14, $1.4 million to develop parks at sites where the city has bought or is buying the land – including three in West Seattle. Explanation excerpt:

Thanks to the support of the people of Seattle, voters approved the Parks and Green Spaces Levy in 2008. Included in the Levy were funds for new park acquisition. However, there were not funds in the 2008 Levy to develop the newly purchased properties into parks or to maintain them. Fourteen neighborhood park sites have been acquired with 2008 Levy funds but are land-banked – held in their current condition. The land-banked sites are throughout the City, many in some of the densest neighborhoods, experiencing the greatest population growth. The sites need to be developed to become true assets to their neighborhoods, and to keep faith with the voters who supported their acquisition as park land.

(The three in West Seattle would be 48th/Charlestown, the 40th SW site in The Junction, and the site north of Morgan Junction Park.)

#26, which would include funding 2 new park rangers and 2 animal-control officers:

The most frequent complaints Parks receives from our park users are about dogs off leash. Additional support from dedicated Animal Control officers is also needed to respond to dog off-leash issues in our parks. Park Rangers and Animal Control officers would work outside the downtown parks with special focus on random patrols of parks where there have been complaints of dogs off leash or where there is observed ongoing damage to turf, trails or natural areas by dogs off leash. Park Rangers and Animal Control officers would work in cooperation to provide education and solicit compliance of the leash law.

There is a public-comment period at tonight’s meeting, which is at 6 pm at Parks HQ downtown (100 Dexter Ave. N.).

26 Replies to "How will you be asked to be taxed for Seattle Parks, and what the $ would fund: Park development? Off-leash law enforcers?"

  • WSpaws October 3, 2013 (1:16 pm)

    Maybe we can designate the new parks as off-leash and take care of a lot of issues. The closest off-leash park is at Westcrest and a lot of people I speak with at dog parks outside WS won’t even take their dogs their for safety or because of the distance. With more dogs than kids in the area it would make sense to have at least one or two more off-leash areas. Would people who complain about off-leash dogs support that?

  • SickToDeathOfSelfishDogOwners October 3, 2013 (1:58 pm)

    No, we wouldn’t support that.
    And that’s pretty breathtaking, even for a Seattle dog owner. So dogs are equivalent to children now? What makes you think you have some right to let your dog run around off-leash in the city AT ALL? I have a better idea: let’s close the off-leash areas and turn them back into parks for EVERYONE.
    (Clue: the parks aren’t just for children. Nice try though.)
    If you were a responsible dog owner and wanted to have your dog off-leash, you’d have a lot size appropriate for the size of the dog you own, or you’d move to an unincorporated part of King County where you can have them off-leash to your heart’s content.
    I’m sick of getting chased by off-leash dogs when out for a run. I’m sick of seeing dog shit on local playing fields (and sidewalks).
    Fundamentally, I’m sick of the profoundly selfish attitude of Seattle dog owners in general, who seem to think that none of the rules apply to them or their precious Fido.
    Dog owners shouldn’t be coddled and rewarded for such a culture. They need to be disabused of this notion of entitlement.
    And the animal control officers shouldn’t just work to “solicit compliance of the leash law”, they should be writing tickets with large fines. Lots of them.

  • chuck and sally's van man October 3, 2013 (2:08 pm)

    About time they realized what a profit-center the off-leash violations can and should be. Almost without fail I encounter LAW BREAKERS on the upper fields and pathways of Lincoln Park, usually by the smuggest “the law does not apply to me” types you can imagine. And to WSPaws above, absolutely I’d support an approved/planned off-leash park. In fact, as a nearby neighbor to the proposed expansion of Morgan Junction Park, I fully endorse the notion that it be designated as such. Perhaps all the happy slobbering dogs will keep the unhappy slobbering drunks away? And anyone who takes offense at that comment hasn’t been aggressively pan-handled by the bums currently taking up residence in the small park already there. It’s ridiculous.

  • DTK October 3, 2013 (2:15 pm)

    But would you support an off-leash cat park?

  • ACG October 3, 2013 (2:19 pm)

    I live near and use Fauntleroy Park and Lincoln Park. According to the website, fines for not scooping poop/off leash/licensing violations range from $50-150 and $500 at a beach. An off leash enforcement officer could EASILY write at least one ticket per hour, probably much more at just those two parks. I think they would easily pay for themselves (and generate additional revenue) just at those two parks.

    In Fauntleroy Park, for example, I have seen MAYBE only 5 instances where an owner actually had their dog on a leash in the park. And I have lived here next to Fauntleroy Park for almost 10 years . Every single other time in the last decade, the dog is off leash. And, no, I am not exaggerating.

  • J October 3, 2013 (2:38 pm)

    “Park Rangers and Animal Control officers would work in cooperation to provide education and solicit compliance of the leash law.” This doesn’t sound very serious. “Please, would you kindly consider obeying the law and putting your dog on a leash?”

  • enough October 3, 2013 (2:51 pm)

    It seems like Animal Control Officers and the city know this is a problem and that it has been a problem for many years. I wonder why they haven’t been writing tickets? Or maybe they have and the staff hasn’t kept up with the population boom the last 10 years. So many people who have moved here, have dogs. Now the problem is and has been way out of control. No time like the present to start getting compliance. I agree with the above comments, especially sicktodeath. I appreciate the good dog owners out there and some of you have chimed in here many times. Thanks and I’m sorry so many poor dog owners make you look bad.

  • ws dog owner October 3, 2013 (3:06 pm)

    Wow, “selfish,” projecting much? I’m a responsible dog owner with a large enough yard for my dog to run, but for some reason he likes to socialize with other dogs! Perhaps I should just lock in him his yard until his morale improves.

    Considering the parks department makes room for soccer players, baseball players, tennis players, swimmers, scuba divers, disc golfers, vegetable gardeners, ultimate frisbee, kickball, and every other activity under the sun, I think it’s not too much to ask that a major growing neighborhood like West Seattle have a proper off-leash area for dogs to stay healthy and sane. Westcrest is a great dog park *for White Center/Highland Park*, not West Seattle proper.

    If you don’t like being harrassed by off-leash dogs, give their owners somewhere to take them with a fence. We pay just as much in property taxes as anyone else around here.

  • WSpaws October 3, 2013 (3:10 pm)

    Wow, such rage from someone who can’t even read a comment. If you re-read mine you can see that I actually go outside of WS to go to legitimate dog parks. The fact that we have so many dogs here was meant to show that if we have more parks for dog owners maybe you wouldn’t have to face so many off-leash dogs.

    With thousands of apartments and condos being built, more dog parks would be a good idea to plan for.

    I think it’s safe to say that dogs are here to stay no matter how angry you are.

    As for a cat park? I’d love to see that! Maybe add a canopy for the ones who will try to bolt :)

  • anonyme October 3, 2013 (3:37 pm)

    I agree with sick and with J. The Seattle culture of non-enforcement and coddling of lawbreakers has got to STOP. No more warnings. No more ‘education’. Just a big, whopping fine, and double it for every offense thereafter. I don’t know why the City insists on ignoring this cash cow.

    ACG, I live near Fauntleroy Park as well, and quit going years ago due to off-leash dogs. Sick and tired of being charged by a snarling pit bull while the owner coos “ooooh, he’s friendly”.

    However, I do have a problem with having every penny of spending added to property taxes. This is completely unfair to many who are struggling to keep their homes. Time for some new revenue ideas – like an income tax.

  • Julie October 3, 2013 (3:49 pm)

    The city is already an off leash cat park, they roam free to kill birds and poop freely. Maybe they should add a leash law for cats and require people to license them just like dogs.

  • datamuse October 3, 2013 (4:26 pm)

    I’ll support more off-leash dog parks if people will actually use them. I know most dog owners are responsible. But the ones who aren’t, who let their dogs run around loose in the neighborhood or use the playfields at Highland Park Elementary or Riverview (and, seriously? Both of those are ten minutes’ walk from Westcrest), destroy undergrowth and harass wildlife at Lincoln Park…they’re really giving the rest of y’all a bad name. I get chased down the street at least once a month–and I live in a neighborhood with a dog park!
    I don’t buy the “too far away” argument for Westcrest, though. I live in Highland Park and go to the Junction, Admiral, and Alki regularly. We’re talking ten minutes by car, maybe fifteen. That’s “too far away”?
    Oh, and my cat stays inside.

  • BWD October 3, 2013 (4:42 pm)

    This is about the law. If you break the off leash law you should be fined. And, no, the laws should not be changed. It is not up to the City or the tax payers to subsidize your choice to have a dog in an urban area. However, I will gladly pay extra if we can have more animal control officers.

    If you want more off leash areas, buy some property and create one. You can charge admission.

  • datamuse October 3, 2013 (5:33 pm)

    Maybe we should have some cat parks, since there are more cats in Seattle than dogs. ;)

  • westseattledood October 3, 2013 (5:45 pm)

    Wouldn’t it be cool to see Lincoln Park and/or Duwamish River shorelines have building space established as a future, permanent base for shoreline habitat nature programs? Like Seward Park’s programs (now partnering ($$$) with the national Audobon Society, I believe) and Discovery Park’s excellent facility and staff – each with programs which have enriched so many residents and visitors over the generations.

    I imagine that our peninsula community is ready and needing this “next step” vision for future West Seattle residents and visitors. Our location and our amazing community is magnificently unique and I think we have the capacity, if not responsibility to embrace our uniqueness for the greatest good. Yes? Imagine this with me… even though I am an optimist that good things will happen regardless, but strategically these opportunities to envision on such a grand scale are rare.

    I imagine/dream when the restoration of the rare Duwamish saltwater marshes and reclamation of clean riparian habitats are completed 18-20 years down the road, a peninsula-wide triangle of educational and research programs could be already phased-in with a triad of facilities emphasizing shoreline habitats – in conjunction with Camp Long’s current program efforts.

    I think every shoreline neighborhood nearby would be enhanced,but the whole peninsula would benefit.
    But the children of our communities would benefit the most. And everything, in the end, should be about them and the world we will leave them, yes? In many respects, such locally based environment programs would address grave environmental justice issues for our kids – within walking distance from schools.

    So, yeah. I think we should shoot for a full Shoreline/Nature Educational Program established in Lincoln Park and on the Duwamish.

    Dream big peeps :)

  • M. October 3, 2013 (7:57 pm)

    I’m all for additional enforcement Officers to patrol off leash scofflaws at parks and playfields.
    Like clockwork, EVERY day dog owners unleash their dog(s) at Fairmount, Roxhill, E.C. Hughes playfields, walking right past the sign instructing to pick up after and leash your dog.
    If you wish additional off leash parks, endeavor to make it happen. Until then, kindly leash your dog, and keep it out of prohibited areas, such as school playgrounds. There’s a big sign there as well, it’s not a suggestion.

  • miws October 3, 2013 (9:02 pm)

    I like your idea, ‘dood!



  • D. October 3, 2013 (10:44 pm)

    I like it westseattledood, great vision!

  • Joe Szilagyi October 4, 2013 (6:47 am)

    Suggestion: have the poop enforcement officers NOT be uniformed.

  • flimflam October 4, 2013 (8:26 am)

    this would pay for itself and then some, why not do it? no reason to think that only certain laws should apply to you, dog lovers.

  • Mcbride October 4, 2013 (8:53 am)

    The parks you mention (Seward, Discovery, and Camp Long) plus one more (Carkeek), are part of the Parks system as Environmental Learning Centers, or ELC’s. From my vantage point, the ELC’s have been a bit of a head scratcher for Parks. They’re not quite sure how to fund them, promote the resource for best utilization, or reconcile the ELC mission with their main priority – operating parks (not quite the same thing). Summed up, Parks loves the idea of them, but isn’t quite sure how to proceed.
    I think your idea is great and I support it. Now is exactly the time to think big, Parks is working in a 20-30 year plan, which they want folks like yourself to ultimately author.
    If you (and anyone else, for that matter) would like to learn more about ELC’s, or get involved in running one, the Camp Long Advisory Council meets on the third Thursday of each month, 7:00 pm, in the main lodge. Meetings are open to the public, and the Council is looking for more members. I recommend it as a great place to start your conversation.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident October 4, 2013 (11:05 am)

    Let this tax expire.
    We are already taxed enough.
    Need money for the parks?
    Take some of the $30 million we give the homeless and divert it to parks.

  • Steven October 4, 2013 (4:20 pm)

    As a tax payer and a dog owner I will allow my dog to run off leash in any city park I see fit. Parks are for all.

  • chuck and sally's van man October 4, 2013 (5:02 pm)

    THERE it is! Thanks, Steven, for publicly showcasing the false sense of entitlement you off-leash walkers possess. You also pay taxes that pay for our roads; are you just as entitled to drive at any speed you want? Unbelievable the selectivity people exhibit when deciding to ignore and thus break the law. I can’t wait for you to be among the first to get hit with a whopping fine. And by the way, I’m also a dog owner and user of public parks. Lawfully.

  • datamuse October 4, 2013 (5:48 pm)

    …yeah, parks are for all. Including people who are done with being chased, charged at, snarled at, and even attacked.
    All of the above have happened to me.

  • flimflam October 5, 2013 (8:08 am)

    ….and there’s lil stevie, stomping his feet and making a real stand. lol.

    serious question – how should one handle a strange dog that jumps up on you? I am an animal lover, but a gentle kick or push off with the foot seems to be the only solution if you don’t want muddy clothes or are afraid of dogs…

    to me, that is the biggest issue here – many people and young children are scared of dogs, one of the many reasons for the law. oh well, as long as people like lil stevie are out there there is no solution besides heavy handed ticket writing.

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