Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015 – 12:58 PM
By Victoria Talbot
At a meeting of the Beverly Hills Recreation and Parks Commission Monday that agendized a dog park at Roxbury Park, activist Mark Elliot presented a petition signed by 40 people, once again raising the question about the location for a City dog park, and once again, getting shot down.
The City has long sought a location suitable for a dog park, a grievance that has yet gone unrelieved, despite promises and movement from the City Council and then-Mayor Lili Bosse last year.
At that time, the City was tasked with turning a portion of the City’s the heavy equipment staging area located at Alden and Foothill Drives into a dog park. The City contracted with Rincon Consultants for an environmental review.
“The consultants are finishing up their report and the Park will come before the liaison committee sometime in July,” said City spokesperson Therese Kosterman.
The property, formerly an industrial area, was found to contain arsenic, and may require mitigation.
However, the City is parking heavy equipment, and construction and work vehicles on the site, which could be unsuitable for property being considered for a dog park. Activity continues unabated.
The site is located across the street from the City’s two animal hospitals and the Amanda Foundation. It has long been utilized for exercise for K9 police units and is ideally suited for the purpose. Few residential contenders live nearby to complain.
Historically, this was the location of the City’s veterinarian and livery stables, where animals were kept for the Fire and Police and other official purposes.
Yesterday’s meeting was a small taste of the kind of opposition that meets every suggestion for a dog park. The City’s residents all say they want one, but usually not in their neighborhood.
Elliot, who is well known in City politics for his activism regarding bicycle lanes (another NIMBY issue in Beverly Hills), had posted a Facebook page and a website for support – Friends of Roxbury Park Dog Park, bringing several supporters with him.
Supporters may have been unaware of the long and contentious history on the subject, specifically at Roxbury Park.
Elliot heard a litany of reasons from longtime resident and former mayor Rose Norton, who explained that residents from the Beverly Hills Southwest Homeowners Association had already fought the fight. They contend that Roxbury Park is over-utilized for recreation and they don’t need any more activity on that space. They don’t want noise and they don’t want the dog park in the proximity of small children.
“I spent five years to get the Roxbury plan changed. I am pleased with it. A dog park by southwest homeowners doesn’t help. These are all private homes. I am very concerned about the preschool area. The croquet field is adjacent tot he preschool and right off the cars – dogs chase cars. I feel that we have worked to get this as a passive park. It is a disservice to all of us who have worked so hard,” she said.
However, those who were arguing for the park were residents of the multi-family units south of Olympic Blvd. Norton and the homeowners’ association represent single-family dwellings.
Dogs are allowed on-leash in all of Beverly Hills’ parks. Park rangers are particularly aggressive with that rule at Roxbury Park.
The Courier will be chewing on this like a dog with a bone. Beverly Hills needs a dog park, and the City is dragging its feet. As the years drag on, it has become clearer that a City that claims it is visionary has lagged behind every other high-end community in this area. Even Compton has a dog park.
Up until this time when asked, City employees have answered our questions regarding the progress on the dog park with vague references to an environmental review. The Courier will follow up.