The following is an article published on the Front Page of the South Bay Daily Breeze about my husband Bruce's and My efforts to have an off-leash dog park built on the Palos Verdes Peninsula ( See http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_15724075?source=rv )
Peninsula landfill dog park plan curbed
By Melissa Pamer Staff Writer
Longing for a place to let their pets run free, dog park advocates on the Palos Verdes Peninsula last year thought they had found a way to avoid the area's pervasive not-in-my-backyard sentiment: build a canine facility on a former landfill.
Not so fast, officials with Los Angeles County have said.
The news that a dog park would not be considered for the county-run Palos Verdes Landfill until 2012 has presented an unexpected setback for canine-lovers Bruce and Maureen Megowan.
"I think we're in a holding pattern with the county," Bruce Megowan said.
The Palos Verdes Estates couple, proud owners of a miniature Australian shepherd, has since last year been trying to sway local officials to build a fenced area where dogs can frolic off leash.
They gathered signatures from some 800 local dog-park supporters, prompting the three larger cities on The Hill to submit letters to the county backing the plans for a pooch area at the closed 173-acre landfill, which is in Rolling Hills Estates.
Rancho Palos Verdes moved to back the plan just last week.
But the Megowans learned recently that Supervisor Don Knabe said officials want to see how things go at the county's first dog park - a pilot project set to open next June in La Crescenta - before embarking on other canine facilities.
In letters to the mayors of Rolling Hills Estates and Palos Verdes Estates, Knabe recommended that dog-park supporters look elsewhere.
"While a dog park on the Palos Verdes Landfill may be a possibility in the long term, I want to encourage (supporters) to continue looking at alternate sites on the Palos Verdes Peninsula that may not have the difficulties and possible environmental complexities that are inherent with the Palos Verdes Landfill," Knabe wrote.
The county would also have to amend its code requiring animals to be on leash at all times - a process not required for the La Crescenta pilot,
Two dogs frolic on the beach below Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes on Sunday. The Palos Verdes Peninsula has no dog park and people often bring their dogs to run off leash in places like the beach, even though it is not allowed. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)
Knabe said. An environmental review would also be required, he added.
Previous reuse proposals for the long-closed landfill have been controversial, including a golf course plan that sputtered to a halt in 2006.
So the Megowans are now looking at other locations, especially two under-utilized parks in Rancho Palos Verdes where city officials have suggested dog facilities as part of a pending overhaul.
"We're still hopeful that we'll be successful, but it makes it all the more important that something happen in Rancho Palos Verdes," Megowan said.
The change of direction means that the Megowans will trade the potential challenge of environmental complications at the landfill for a possible backlash from neighbors around the Rancho Palos Verdes parks.
Residents who want to see Lower Hesse and Grandview parks remain open and quiet are already protesting city plans. A Rancho Palos Verdes resident who's been acting as a spokeswoman for a group of Grandview neighbors said the dog park concept is unpopular.
"The people who walk their dogs around here like having it the way it is. They can already walk their dogs there," Ginger Clark said. "Our dog people don't like the idea of a dog park. It's a stupid idea."
Megowan said he anticipates some "vocal opposition," but said the fenced dog area could be put in the center of the parks, farthest from nearby homes. He said the parks would enhance community spirit, and that concerns about noise were overblown.
"Dogs don't sit there when they're playing with each other and just bark. They're running around," Megowan said. "People have a misconception that it's like a kennel."
He said private donations could pay for most of the dog park. He's approached the Annenberg Foundation, which is pursuing a $40 million education center at Lower Point Vicente that would be focused on "companion animals."
Right now, the two closest fenced dog parks to The Hill are on 190th Street in Redondo Beach and a temporary location in northeastern San Pedro at the base of Knoll Hill.
A popular, illicit dog beach below Trump National Golf Club is set to get stepped-up leash-law enforcement when the property is transferred to Rancho Palos Verdes in coming months, a city official said. City code prohibits dogs on beaches.
A couple of years ago, Palos Verdes Estates cracked down on dog activity at two public campuses, eliminating spots for canine play before and after school. That police enforcement prompted the Megowans' effort.
"You're making criminals of people who are just trying to have a good time with their dogs and meet other dog owners," Megowan said.
He's encouraging supporters to attend a Rancho Palos Verdes workshop on Sept. 25 to speak up for dog facilities
For more information about Palos Verdes and South Bay Real Estate and buying and selling a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, visit my website at http://www.maureenmegowan.com . I try to make this the best real estate web blog in the South Bay Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.