Residents of the Via de las Olas neighborhood are outraged by the proposed off-leash dog park proposed for the infamous “Oxy site” along Pacific Coast Highway, just west of Potrero Canyon-and directly below the Via bluffs. “While we are not against the idea of a dog park, we are adamantly against the idea of using the Oxy site, which we believe is reckless and irresponsible,” said Thomas and Elisabeth Giovine of BRAD (Bluff Residents Against Danger) in a letter to Norm Kulla, acting chair of PaliDog, the dog park search committee. “We urge you to seek an alternate site that is not so close to a residential neighborhood, such as Temescal Canyon. We have never understood why dogs are not allowed [there] anyway,” the Giovines wrote. “Please understand, before PaliDog expends resources on studies using the Oxy site, we want to be very clear: my wife and I will fight this movement with every fiber of our beings.” Kulla (and the Palisadian-Post) received similar protest letters from other Via bluffs neighbors who fear that a dog park on the flat, 2-acre site (once proposed for oil drilling) would entice droves of dog owners to park along Via de las Olas-between Mt. Holyoke and Friends-and hike 10 minutes or so down an unimproved path to the dog park. PaliDog’s goal is to build a parking lot adjacent to a fenced-in park (accessed from PCH) and discourage people from using the hillside trail. Eventually, the dog park would also be accessible to people hiking a one-mile fire road from the Palisades Recreation Center down through a “landscaped” Potrero Canyon. BRAD letter writers requested a meeting with PaliDog, and Kulla encouraged them to make a presentation to his committee on Monday, February 9 at 6:30 in Mort’s Oak Room. “PaliDog is attempting to proceed on a consensus basis,” Kulla said. “I believe we should make the Oxy site and concerns of the residents of Via de las Olas a principle focus of our next meeting. Monique Ford of Cindy Miscikowski’s office is also involved in this process.” Kulla said his committee has focused on the Oxy site “after studying and rejecting more than a half-dozen other possible locations” in the Palisades. “Land ownership is complex” along PCH at Potrero Canyon, he said, and “Monique has indicated that a land and/or easement swap is pending between Caltrans and the City. We anticipate a fluid and extended process to attain our goal.” In a two page e-mail to Via de las Olas neighborhood friends last week, Tom and Elisabeth Giovine argued that the proposed dog park would “jeopardize the bluff’s stability, invite crime, risk fire danger, risk our children’s safety, slow traffic and endanger the environment.” More specifically, they objected that: Since the Via de las Olas bluff is geologically unstable, the City deemed the street Withdrawn from Public Use “because it is worried about vehicle weight on the bluff. A dog park might cause users (not just from the Palisades) to park on Olas and risk the bluff’s stability.” In addition, there’s concern about “bluff erosion from increased human and canine foot traffic” down to the dog park. A dog park “would increase the likelihood of a fire that would threaten homes in the Palisades bluffs and in the Huntington.” Crime will increase because “the dog park will attract visitors from all over Los Angeles and Ventura counties-not just Palisades residents. The dog park will invite wayward and unseemly people to roam the bluff streets from PCH to the Village and throughout the Huntington.” “Children playing at the Palisades Recreation Center will be at risk from dog park users, who can easily walk directly up the canyon from PCH.” In addition, “unleashed dogs, so dangerously close to a densely populated residential neighborhood, will create serious risk to our children playing in their yards as well as around the bluff.” Environmental dangers will include the prospect that “dog urine and fecal matter will run off into the ocean, into an area that already has dubious water cleanliness,” and “the nightly on-shore winds will disperse remnants of dog feces throughout the bluff streets and the Huntington-posing a threat to human health.” * “We all know that PCH can be very slow, particularly during summer beach days. A dog park [at the foot of Potrero Canyon] will further exacerbate traffic issues as dog park users will be darting in and out of traffic.” In a letter to Councilwoman Miscikowski, Via de las Olas resident Bill Moran said he owned a golden retriever and he would enjoy taking his dog to a dog park-but not at the Oxy site. He argued that “having a dog park adjacent to PCH, where dogs may get loose (inadvertently) and be running around on PCH will be a dangerous situation.” In addition, since “innumerable people” will access the site from Via de las Olas, “the impact on the neighborhood could be enormous. A dog park could draw from a population of 30,000-50,000. Imagine the number of dogs, cars, and non-neighborhood people who will be using this facility.” In summary, Moran charged, building a dog park at the Oxy site “would be a complete disaster” and “ranks right up there with putting in a Minimum Security Prison and telling people to not worry because they’re non-violent people.”
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