343 AVCA homeowners, 24% of the returned responses, ranked a Dog Park as a "Very Important" park amenity.
What is a Dog Park ?
The term "dog park" generally is used where the design of the park, and its amenities make it clear that dogs are invited, not just permitted. Most people, however, use the term "dog park" to mean an "off-leash recreational area"; a place where dog owners can let their dogs run and play off-leash.
Since 1993, AVCA membership has increased to 15,193 property owners. When Aliso Viejo incorporated in 2001, AVCA retained the responsibility for maintenance of the majority of Aliso Viejo's park land. AVCA homeowner assessments (dues) continue to pay for maintenance and upgrades for 21 AVCA managed parks and their amenities, such as
• 11 parks with Tot Lots
• 9 parks with Sports Fields
• 4 parks with Basketball Courts
• 3 parks with Restrooms
• 3 parks with Softball Fields
• 2 parks with Sand Volleyball Courts
• 1 park with Baseball Fields
• 1 park with Tennis Courts
• 1 park with a Basketball Half-Court
Many AVCA members pay dues for park amenities that they never use, either because their children are grown, they have no children, or they don’t play sports.
Fourteen years later, AVCA members still feel that a Dog Park is a "Very Important" amenity for our community.
Take a walk down any residential street in Aliso Viejo and you will see or hear a dog at roughly 4 out of every 10 houses. An estimated 5,000 of AVCA member households own at least one dog. The national average for the number of dogs per household is 1.69. Assuming that Aliso Viejo is similar to the nation demographically, there could easily be 8,000 or more dogs living in AVCA member households. Many people consider their dogs to be family members, and as such, wish to engage in recreational and social activities with them.
Aliso Viejo's Leash Laws do not allow people to let their dogs off-leash in any public areas of the City or in any AVCA common areas, including the parks. Aliso Viejo's populations of dog owners and dogs have no social and recreational area of their own.
In November 2004 the AVCA Board of Directors resolved to proceed with contracting with NUVIS Landscape Architecture and Planning to develop a conceptual plan for a dog park, assist in securing a Site Development permit, assist with pre-construction meetings and provide field observations.
The Dog Park was proposed to take up 1.4 acres of land in an underdeveloped portion of the Aliso Canyon Community Park , located off of Wood Canyon Drive and Knollwood, between a temporary maintenance yard and an existing sports field area.
This location was chosen due to several factors, including its distance from immediate residential areas and the immediate availability of the land.
In May 2005 the AVCA Board of Directors tabled discussion of the Dog Park project because some Board Members had conflicting viewpoints on the benefits versus the potential costs of building and maintaining the park, as well as managing possible liability risks.
Other communities have built dog parks for less than $80,000. A well designed, fiscally responsible Dog Park would not be a financial burden on our community.
There are over 700 dog parks in the United States . These parks would not exist if there were significant insurance costs involved. In California , dog owners are ultimately liable for the actions of their dogs. A Dog Park is no more a liability risk than a children's playground or a restroom.
It's time for AVCA to keep its agreement with the community, to recognize the desire of dues-paying dog owners and finally build our Dog Park .
What you can do
The Aliso Viejo Community Association's Board of Directors, Committee Members, and management staff are obligated to serve the interests of the dues paying members of Aliso Viejo. If every AVCA member who supports a Dog Park would write a letter or attend a Board of Directors meeting, our interest could not be ignored.
Please, show your support for a Dog Park in Aliso Viejo by contacting AVCA at:
Aliso Viejo Community Association
Board of Directors
12 Journey, Ste 255
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
For more information:
The Friends of the Aliso Viejo Dog Park website has a wealth of information about our community's efforts to build a dog park, background information regarding dog parks in general, and a mailing list for community members to stay up to date on the Dog Park’s status. Come visit us at: www.AVDogPark.org