Dogs

The off-leash pilot program at Hillview Baseball Field proved popular with local dog owners. 

Acknowledging there is no “perfect solution” balancing the needs of dog owners and worried neighbors, Los Altos City Council members are moving ahead with fenced-in dog park locations in both north and south Los Altos.

In two separate motions, council members Jan. 11 approved conceptual plans for parks at the civic center, next to Hillview Soccer Field, and at McKenzie Park west. Next comes specific plans, including where the parks would be situated, and an amendment to the city’s municipal code to allow for their construction.

Council members voted 5-0 for the Hillview plan, which allows for a small space adjacent to the soccer field. Members approved the McKenzie option – as much as 20,000 square feet next to the McKenzie tennis courts – by a 4-1 vote, with Councilmember Neysa Fligor in opposition.

City Manager Gabriel Engeland said next steps include approval of funding for constructing the parks – an estimated $100,000, or $50,000 per park, allocated from park-lieu fees, was proposed at the council’s Jan. 11 meeting. Also ahead: Specific siting of the dog park locations, particularly with regard to the Hillview site.

Engeland said staff plans to return to council at its Feb. 8 meeting for more discussion and final actions. Staff estimated the parks could be constructed within three-to-four months of final approvals.

The council last week signed off on conceptual plans over objections from some residents, who felt – particularly in the case of McKenzie – that park space was being taken way to benefit one specific group. But there was also strong support for the fenced-in options.

“We all know this is not a perfect solution to meet every need for every person in the city whether or not you own a dog – but this represents a very substantial step for our city," said Los Altos Mayor Anita Enander. "I am just really happy with all of this and happy with all the effort that everyone has put forward.”

For more on this story, read the Town Crier's Jan. 19 print edition.