April 10th Community Design Review of Proposed Dog Play Area 

A community meeting was held at the Lake Merritt Garden Center on Wednesday April 10, 2013.

7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Audree Jones Taylor of Oakland Parks and Recreation presided. A number of public officials were present.

Agenda with Notes

7:00 Welcome Audree Jones Taylor, Parks and Recreation

Ms Taylor welcomed the community, acknowledged public officials, Hatzune Aguilar from the Mayor's office welcomed attendees and said the mayor was looking forward to the community's feedback. 

7:05 - 7:10 Project Overview Ali Schwarz, Project Manager

Ms Schwarz laid the roadmap for the evening's agenda and introduced the scope of the event. The department, at the urging of the planning commission was looking for public feedback on what would constitute an ideal dog park. The project under review - a dog park at Snow Park, was being presented for public comment, but the department wanted to hear about the features the community would like to see at any park within the city.

7:10 - 7:30 Dog Play Area Design John Hykes, Landscape Architect

Mr Hykes introduced the plans for the Snow Park modifications as they stood before the introduction for a dog play area and the artist's rendering of Snow Park with a dog play area addition. Mr Hykes' version included an entrance to the dog park on the 19th St. end of Snow Park. The rendering allocated a large triangular plot of land at the top of Snow Park. The plot includes the park's oak tree which would be fenced off for protection. The proposed material for the play area is bark, but Mr Hykes noted there were many options and asked for feedback on this and the possibility of landscaping along the fencing and lighting.

7:30 - 8:00 Discussion

Ms Schwarz moderated the discussion, asking participants to respond to the general design and provide feedback on the proposed materials. One attendee claimed to be a nearby resident and lawyer who was concerned about the lack of an EIR for the project. Ms Schwarz responded that once plan achieved early approval the department would address the EIR question. For this portion of the discussion the city asked that community input come from neighbors who lived within walking distance. Many neighbors responded positively to the park, noting many dogs already play there and it would be nice to have lighting and an infrastructure to make it easier to bring dogs to this location. Some neighbors expressed concern about noise (referred to as sonic impact) and smell. 

8:00 - 8:30 Open Forum


More Notes

Per Jean Quan's newsletter: 

"On April 10th, community members gathered at the Garden Center with the Parks and Recreation Department and the Planning Department to discuss design ideas for a potential dog play area at Snow Park, in a section of the park near 19th Street between Harrison and Alice Streets. About 50 people attended to give design feedback.


Participants were asked to weigh in on ground material, fencing, lighting, dog-watering areas, furniture, public art, and any other design concerns or interests. Some of the consistent themes were that ground material should be attractive, noise absorbent, and able to drain collected water from the sloped area during the rainy season. Recommended ground materials included grass, mulch, and sand. 


Landscaping around the outside perimeter and adequate lighting were a priority. There was some discussion about whether the play area should be divided between small and large dogs and whether this would even be possible in the space available. Many agreed that the issue of the legality of dogs at regular parks should be reviewed and amended to allow for a more inclusionary park experience for residents of Oakland.


The Snow Park Dog Play Area will go through the standard City process for a changed use in a park. Public comments on overall suitability are invited at the PRAC meeting on May 8, where the Commissioners will consider whether to recommend a dog play area in Snow Park.."

More Notes