IB Dog Beach Trial Period Proposed

The City Council votes to move forward with a leash-free dog beach between Palm Avenue and Carnation Avenue.

By Albert Fulcher | Email the author | April 24, 2011

After lengthy discussion and a little trepidation, Imperial Beach is moving toward a trial leash-free dog beach between Palm Avenue and Carnation Avenue.

But do not take the leash off the dog yet.

On Wednesday, in a three-to-one vote, the City Council directed staff to begin procedures to implement a 180-day trial period. Councilman Edward Spriggs abstained, citing a conflict of interest.

Based on public feedback, a location north of Palm Avenue received majority support and was found to be the most logical site, according to City Manager Gary Brown. Two jetties leave clear demarcation for dogs and people.

Brown said that a dog beach had little likelihood of success because the proposed trial area is controlled by the Navy and Coronado, and other potential areas south of Palm Avenue are in contention with residents and the estuary.

Doug Clark, interim assistant city manager, said the public should not expect immediate results. Allowing dogs to be off-leash for the proposed test requires an amendment to the city’s municipal code, according to Clark.

With the Port of San Diego leasing part of the proposed area and possible environmental issues at the end of Palm Avenue, the city must notify, and await input from, the port and other impacted agencies before a trial leash-free beach can begin.

“I do not yet have an estimate of the time needed to draft and notice this ordinance,” said Clark. “In the meantime, dogs may not be off-leash.”

Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm said the port and Imperial Beach city staff have been in frequent discussions in support of a leash-free dog beach.

“Ultimately, I hope we can make it happen,” said Malcolm.

Jessica Dykes, president of IB Yappy, which has been instrumental in researching potential dog run locations, said, “Our main beach choice was between Carnation and Palm after we had done our research. We would also like to do research for an actual park, a safer area.”

Dykes said IB Yappy had been observing an area at Veterans Park away from the playground, mostly used by dog walkers. “Speaking with residents in the area is the next step,” said Dykes.

While IB Yappy is researching park ideas, Mayor Jim Janney said the city staff’s report concerned only recommendations for beach areas, not parks.

Councilman Jim King said due to problematic issues with several of the beach proposals, he said using a test area between Palm and Carnation is the best approach.

“I thought we were looking at other suggestions, such as Veterans Park,” said King. “It deserves consideration. With the trial, we can measure what the implications are.”

Janney said he has questions about Veterans Park, however the idea deserves discussion. The city has only one park of any size, and to designate a specific spot just for animals is taking quite a bit away.

Councilwoman Lorie Bragg said she would not support a leash-free beach in a highly populated area during the summer, and she supported city staff looking at off-beach locations.

“There seems to be the possibility of problems with many innocent bystanders,” she said. “If an area is enclosed, it is different, but I have to be honest and say fencing in more of Veterans Park does not appeal to me at all.”

King said the issue deserved a trial period, and that he had never heard people complain of unleased dogs on the beach. “Dogs off leash are a little mellower than they are on leash in my opinion.”

Spriggs abstained from participating in the vote as several options proposed impact his residence, but spoke up as a resident, citing concern over dogs being on highly used areas of beach.

“I’d say generally nine out of 10 dogs out on that beach are unleashed, even when they are supposed to be,” said Spriggs. “Generally owners do not pick up after their dogs, let them run freely and do what they want. It is the residents that will be impacted.”

Brown said staff would take the consideration and work as quickly as possible to get a trial started for leash-free dog beach, working with the port.

The motion was carried by Janney, Brian Bilbray and King. Bragg voted “no,” and Spriggs abstained.

If the trial period proceeds, then upon closing “it has to be clear that you can say the trial is no good, take the signs down and stop the leash-free site,” said Brown.

Bilbray said there are other options such as the unused plot on 10th and Iris, just south of Oneonta Elementary. “I would like to see us at least try and make something work,” said Bilbray.

What areas in Imperial Beach would best serve a leash-free dog facility? Tell us in the comments.

Government, Police & Fire, Business, Schools, Sports

City Council Adopts 2011-15 Goals Concerning Future of Imperial Beach

A glimpse into the future of Imperial Beach seen through the ideals and ideas of the City Council and city staff in adopted goals.

By Albert Fulcher | Email the author | April 22, 2011

Youth in the city, fiscal responsibility, public safety, major development projects and more are all on the city’s goal list for 2011-15, passed by the City Council on Wednesday.

Council members and city staff had the opportunity to express their ambitions for the city over the span of the next few years. The goals for the city are separated into three categories—quality of life, fiscal sustainability and priority development.

City Manager Gary Brown said that, based on prior discussions, three additions were added: exploring next steps to capitalize on opportunities presented by the new Seacoast Inn, working on ways to build the city’s revenue, and presenting ideas to improve marketing of the city.

Council and city staff agreed on the impact that the Seacoast Inn project may have on IB. Mayor Jim Janney said, “Decisions made should focus on what is available today, the economic situation, in tandem with the current look and feel of Imperial Beach.

“We said this would be a catalyst project,” Janney said.

Councilman Edward Spriggs said he was delighted with the additions and the overall goals, “and they all tie in with the vision that we want to create for Imperial Beach as a wonderful beach community that is both meeting the needs of its residents and is economically viable and retains its casual nature.”

Spriggs described the role of the Seacoast Inn as a vehicle to achieve what the city has been working for, and likely to be followed by modest low-rise development of Seacoast Drive, described as a walkable, beautiful community that has shops and residences that visitors and residents of the city can enjoy.

“Now that the hotel is a reality, with the work we have done on it for many years, it is only appropriate this is one of our priorities that we are going to be working on over the next year,” Spriggs said.

City staff will return before the end of the fiscal year to present the budget, as well as some “wild and crazy ideas, and some feasible ones for brainstorming,” Brown said.

Wednesday’s unanimous decision adopted the following 2011-15 goals as an amendment to the 2010-14 goals.

City Manager Staff Report, April 20, 2011. Goals for 2011-15

City Council Agenda, April 20, 2011, with enclosures attached.

Quality of Life

1. Bicycle Village

     a. Secure property and adopt zoning to allow the development

2. Engage in social media to improve communication with citizenry

3. Crime

     a. Reduce incidence of index crimes by 10 percent

4. Changes to Commercial Zoning

     a. Complete CEQA analysis and write ordinances. Get ordinances to Coastal Commision for their review

     b. Adopt Ordinances

5. Sand Replenishment

     a. Shift away from the Corp’s large project and emphasize SANDAG’s work

     b. Secure state funding to assist

     c. Consider artificial reef.

6. Continue Facade Improvement and Clean and Green program.

7. Palm Avenue Master Plan

     a. Work with council representative to SANDAG to secure funding of CEQA analysis and design phases

8. Maintain City Facilities

      a. Public Works constant effort

     b. What to do if and when redevelopment funds are not available

9. Submit Marijuana ordinance to Council and Coastal Commission

10. Find out what we can enforce under the existing sign code

11. Port Contracts

     a. Work for smooth renewal of Port Contracts for tidelands maintenance and public safety, which end on June 20, 2012

12. Move to paperless agenda for Council meetings

13. Involve youth in City

     a. Create links to high school and youth advisory group

14. Seek Federal assistance to preserve the estuary

15. Pursue walkable community

      a. Complete cross-walks at municipal center and Louden Lane

      b. Complete study with Walk San Diego

16. Dog Beach -Find a site for a leash-free dog beach

17. Improve working relationship with schools to see if the following are feasible

     a. Tennis courts on school site

     b. Increase community access to the swimming pool

     c. Use of playground facilities

Fiscal Sustainability

1. Achieve fiscal stability through June 30, 2013 with a balanced two year budget

     a. Carefully monitor expenses and find cost savings

     b. Work with CLETAC on new Sheriff’s contract for the period starting July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014

     c. Continue work on reducing cost and increasing certain fees

     d. Work with Sandpipa cities to stabalize insurance cost

     e. Seek labor savings during negotiations

     f. Review fees and raise some if justified

2. Ensure funding for replacement of large equipment such as fire engine and vector trucks

3. Staff Costs

     a. Complete labor negotiations

     b. Seek to have firefighters contribute toward retirement; may seek to have other employees pay more

     c. Adjust health allowance

     d. Review alternative health plans

4. Work with Council on ways to build the city’s reverences

5. Present ideas to improve marketing of the city

Priority Development

1. Start and finish construction of new hotel on Seacoast Inn site

     a. Link to ecotourism

2. 9th and Palm

     a. Complete DDA with Sudberry by end of 2011 or re-start RFP process

     b. Will discuss new post with Sudberry

3. Pond 20

     a. Work with the Port and San Diego to re-assess development potential on the site

4. Review funding for El Camino and proceed toward funding if Council chooses to do so

5. Explore and establish ways to improve business relationships and improve the community’s responsiveness and receptivity to business

6. Explore next steps to capitalize on opportunities presented by the new Seacoast Inn. Take these steps once they are identified

What do you think of the city’s adopted policies? Which are best for the community and which are not, and why? Tell us in the comments.
%d bloggers like this: