LAFAYETTE -- Lingering anger among some residents over a proposed housing development has spilled over to plans for a public dog park.
Questioning a lack of information -- including the absence of a staff report detailing plans for the proposed dog park -- critics this week took aim at the city during an update on the canine playground.
The O'Brien Land Co. has proposed building the "bare bones" dog park as one of several public amenities to be built alongside up to 45 single-family homes on 22 acres at the corner of Deer Hill Road and Pleasant Hill Road. Developers have pitched those homes as an alternative to the proposed Terraces of Lafayette, a largely unpopular 315-unit moderate-income apartment development. Public hearings on the new project are set to begin in a few months, according to the city.
Following discussions about size constraints on the dog park with city staffers, the Parks Commission and the parks subcommittee, developers want to move the park across Deer Hill Road to land owned by Anna Maria Dettmer. Dettmer also owns the land on which Terraces would be built.
After a quick view of a schematic of what senior planner Greg Wolff described as an updated site plan of the subdivision -- now known as "The Homes at Deer Hill" -- a resident questioned whether the layout included more homes than the 44 to 45 units spelled out in a January agreement between the city and developers.
"I don't know if we should actually be talking about something like that tonight rather than a dog park across the street," the resident said. "If we are diverging away from the 43 or 44, which there isn't a lot of support for anyway, I think that's something we should be talking about."
City staff told the council the development still deals with 44 to 45 units. A revised project site plan obtained from the developer shows 44 homes on the site.
Another resident called out the lack of a staff report and said the project should be coming through the city's "normal channels." Councilmen Mark Mitchell and Mike Anderson also questioned the lack of a staff report, with Anderson saying the development was a "very sensitive issue for a lot of folks."
Planning staff characterized the dog park change as a very late development, and said they had only recently received the schematics.
Wolff said the park would not necessarily be approved at the new site, or that it could "ultimately be a component if the council so decides."
"It's just a proposal at this point," Wolff said later.
The proposed park will have separate areas for small and large dogs and would likely not have a natural turf surface, reducing maintenance costs, said Parks, Trails and Recreation Director Jennifer Russell. The city had initially estimated a yearly $10,000 surface replacement cost for the initial $100,000 half-acre dog park.
The proposed park will have an acre and a half play area, Russell said. The rest of the site includes a parking lot and an Army Corps of Engineers-designated wetlands area. Project manager David Baker said any development in the wetlands area will be avoided. The entire site will be evaluated in the project's supplemental environmental impact review, city staff said.
Any enhancements to the bare bones dog park would be the city's responsibility. Russell said the city is working with the Lafayette Dog Owner's Group -- which was also involved in discussions about the new dog park site -- on fundraising.