Planning Delays Vote on Dog Park

Planning Delays Vote on Dog Park

The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted May 31 to defer a final vote on the proposed Interim Off Leash Dog Park (OLDA) for Westgrove Park until July 19.

Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn initially made a motion to defer a vote indefinitely, but after some discussion amended his own motion to defer the Planning Commission vote on the interim OLDA until July 19. The vote to defer was nearly unanimous; one commissioner abstained because he was not in attendance at a previous public hearing on the subject, and one member was absent.

Staff of the Fairfax County Park Authority responded to a question on what they were going to do by saying they were still evaluating options and had not made any decisions on next steps. No further comment was available.

Steven Nixon, president of PACK, the dog owners organization leading the effort to establish an interim OLDA, said, "This is a very disappointing turn of events. We thought that with the overwhelming support of the community, our district supervisor, and the entire county staff that our simple cause would prevail. Our community is built on democratic values — so what does it take to get things done in our district?"

Glenda Booth, president of the Friends of Dyke Marsh, and an opponent of establishing an interim OLDA in Westgrove Park, said, "In deferring their decision for the second time, planning commissioners focused on the absence of a master plan for Westgrove Park. They questioned the appropriateness of granting special treatment through an interim use for a park with no agreed on master plan. In the master planning process everyone in the community could help decide what type of park Westgrove should be. The Friends of Dyke Marsh and others urge the Fairfax County Park Authority to use this rare opportunity to enhance the largely natural corridor that extends from Mount Vernon District Park to the Potomac river."