The following is a verbatum copy of a letter sent to the entire Pacifica City Council (cc'd City Manager) on July 2, 2004 by Dr. Suzanne M. Valente:
July 2, 2004
Dear City Councilmember:
It has come to my attention by way of citizen complaint that Parks, Beaches and Recreation has been advising citizens that Sharp Park Beach south of Clarendon is NOT an official off-leash dog area. Follow-up by this citizen with the Police Department resulted in an explanation that Sharp Park Beach south of Clarendon IS a sanctioned off-leash dog area.
Obviously, this is a situation which requires clarification. On April 22, 2002 the Sharp Park Beach area immediately south of Clarendon to the Mori Point Bluffs was approved by the City Council as an off-leash area. A motion to amend the current leash law ordinance to reflect this was approved by a vote of 4-0, with one Councilmember [Pete DeJarnatt] being absent. Staff was asked to amend the ordinance and come back to Council with the amended ordinance for approval. This never happened. Most likely because, in the interim, a lone citizen [Paul Jones] complained and requested an environmental review. Subsequently, the City Council approved on August 12, 2002 funding to have an environmental report drawn up by Thomas Reid Associates.
Unfortunately, the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration as produced by Thomas Reid Associates was so badly flawed as to be unlawful. If you question that statement, please feel free to contact me directly, and I will be happy to provide you with a fully documented explanation. The environmental review should have been merely a Negative Declaration without the imposition of mitigation measures. This beach area was specifically chosen because it has no presence of threatened or endangered species, as any habitat was destroyed when the berm was built to protect the golf course from flooding. Thomas Reid Associates acknowledge that in their review. The Planning staff has apparently abandoned any plan of completing the environmental review, and in doing so, the matter was never taken to completion.
Please, have staff bring back to the Council the amended ordinance for approval. This will enable signage to be put up, alleviating the confusion on the part of citizens, AND, put the City in a defensible position should any untoward event occur out there. There is specific mention of that matter by the City Attorney in the minutes of the meeting where this motion to amend the ordinance was approved. A staff attorney at the State Resources Board indicates that the ordinance is not affected by a citizen’s request for an environmental review. The City does have the right to terminate the review after receiving confirmation that there are no endangered or threatened species at Sharp Park Beach without fear of retribution from any government agency. I would also point out, should there be any question of the necessity for this area to exist, that it is the only off-leash area the city has approved which provides access to the disabled or handicapped. Furthermore, the Esplanade area which is the only other area approved, has been inaccessible for some 9 months due to damage to the stairway leading down to the beach which has not yet been satisfactorily repaired.
Dr. Suzanne M. Valente
**Today's San Mateo Daily Journal reports that San Bruno is looking to expand its off leash dog park access to up to 3 city parks:
"In 2008, Burlingame considered a similar ordinance at Washington Park.
In May, the council approved a 90-day trial allowing off-leash dogs in
the upper field of Cuernavaca Park and the eastern most lawn in
Washington Park before 7:45 a.m. The trial went well, allowing the
trial to become the rule last summer."
added by Jeffrey W Simons