Dog Park Foes Seek County Grant to Change Location

by Karen Goff February 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm 1,226 25 Comments

Sign at dog park at Baron CameronSeveral residents of the Longwood Grove neighborhood have a new suggestion to quell the noise at the Baron Cameron Park Dog Park — they are seeking a county grant that will pay to move the off-leash area to another Fairfax County Park Authority location.

It has been nearly a year since the group of five Longwood Grove families whose homes are located across four-lane Wiehle Avenue from the dog park filed a lawsuit against the Park Authority.

In it, the plaintiffs called the park, the only off-leash dog run in Reston “a private nuisance” as the “the dog park noise, mainly from unruly dogs barking and fighting, has grown to intolerable levels over the last two years.”

The lawsuit asked for an immediate shutdown of the park. That did not happen.

So in January, the Longwood residents submitted to the Park Authority a Mastenbrook Grant application that seeks to relocate the dog park from its current location to Lake Fairfax Park.

Mastenbrook Grants are a Park Authority program, founded in 1999, that match funding (up to 50 percent of the total project cost or $20,000 maximum) for park projects. The aim is to fill a gap between limited bond funding and the community’s desire for new neighborhood facilities. 

The grants have been used in the past for dog parks, playgrounds, greenhouses, shade gardens and other small improvements desired by civic groups, says the FCPA website

It would be unprecedented to use grant funds to move a project to another park, said Park Authority Chairman Bill Bouie.

“As you know, a few Longwood Grove residents have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue with Fairfax County Park Authority about the dog park and have spent countless hours trying to resolve the issue to no avail,” one of the Longwood Grove residents said in an email obtained by Reston Now.

“On Jan. 21, Longwood Grove neighbors submitted to the Park Authority a Mastenbrook Grant application that, if approved, would relocate the dog park from its current location to Lake Fairfax.

“A dog park was approved for that location by FCPA in October 2001, about one month after Baron Cameron Park was opened to the public. This proposal will provide the county with a larger dog park, centrally located in a 476-acre park less than two miles away. We feel this proposal is win-win for all. … We are offering $15,000 to FCPA to relocate the dog park to Lake Fairfax using existing dog park materials. Every dog park in Fairfax County except two, one which was part of a development proffer and the other privately owned, have been erected using dog park sponsor money matched by Mastenbrook Grant Funds.”

Bouie said the application will be considered through the normal Park Authority grant process. Applications are reviewed by park staff, which then makes a recommendation to the Park Authority Board. The Board makes the final decision on funding.

An additional Park Authority source says Longwood Grove said they would pay $15,000 of its own money if they could get matching grant funds from the county in an offer to settle the lawsuit last month. That offer was unanimously rejected by the Park Authority Board, the source said.

The grant application says the park materials — including 1,235 linear feet of vinyl coated chain link fence — can be relocated and a new park open at a cost of $30,000, but the park source said the figure is closer to $200,000.

The grant application says a dog park at the Lake Fairfax, which is much larger and farther set from residential neighborhoods, would:

  • Provide immediate relief to our residential neighborhood, especially considering Fairfax County exempted dog park noise from the noise ordinance.
  • The dog park will be located in a heavily used area with sufficient parking and ADA accessibility, less than two miles from the current location.
  • Patrons have stated that Lake Fairfax would make a great location for a dog park.
  • This location offers a larger, partially-shaded dog park.
  • Lake Fairfax is convenient for families with dogs and children as many sports fields are located in the area and there are many trails for dog walking. This location is convenient for those camping at Lake Fairfax.
  • FCPA’s on-site staff is able to monitor the facility as the dog park may no longer have a sponsor
  • The location will not result in the destruction of a sports field.
  • The center of this 476 acre park is suitable for this type of park feature. This proposal should not result in residential noise disturbances.
  • Removes a feature that is unsightly and does not meet Reston’s design standards.

Baron Cameron Park recently went through a Master Plan process. In the plan approved last June, the dog park, which the board had considered moving to the interior of the park, stays in its current location along Wiehle Avenue.

  • Entitled-elitist

    These people have too much time on their hands. What’s next, relocate Wiehle Ave because its too noisy?

    • MJC

      These “people” are tired of listing to barking dogs! If dog-owners don’t have sufficient space for their dogs to exercise, they shouldn’t own dogs!

      • qwerty

        Great idea. While you’re at it, don’t have kids if they ever would need to leave your yard.

  • Jill

    So move the “unruly dogs barking and fighting” to Lake Fairfax which also has neighborhoods around it . . . ???

    • Mike M

      We need to deputize the dawg po-leece.

  • RestonResident

    Agreed. Too much time on their hands. Also….a change of location by 2 miles is a significant amount for someone who has previously enjoyed walking their dog to the park. The current location is much more accessible for many residents

  • Steve

    I don’t understand this sentence: “A dog park was approved for that location by FCPA in October 2001, about one month after Baron Cameron Park was opened to the public.” The park dates back to 1974. [Its first master plan included a space for people to fly model airplanes. Talk about nuisance noise.]. I do not understand why people who buy homes next to a public park feel that space is for their personal use only. First it was the neighbors near the ballfields objecting to lights and little kids playing baseball. Now its another group of neighbors objecting to dogs. The horror. Dogs and kids in a park!

    • Guest

      Dogs are not the problem. It is the barking. Comprehend? Owners do not control dogs who bark incessantly. Are you incapable of any compassion for those suffering at the hands of inconsiderate dog owners who refuse to comply with the rules of that dog park? Sad thing is that all could live together in peace and harmony if everyone would be a little kinder and empathetic. Providing a bigger dog park close by with shade and ADA features would seem to be an upgrade. Hopefully the Park Authority will approve this alternative plan.

      • Mike M

        I am catching on, Guest! It’s not the dogs, it’s the barking. It’s not the dogs, it’s the dog poo. It’s not the dogs, it’s the fur. It’s not the dogs, it’s the dog owners. It’s not the dogs, it’s the [your petty busybody gripe here].

        • Guest #2

          What about constant, alarming (not white noise) do you not understand?

          • Mike M

            The persnickety whining, I guess. Thanks for asking, Number 2.

  • Brian

    Lets use the grant funds to open a SECOND dog park… Why stop at 1? Those idiots bought houses next to a dog park – that’s what you get! (although it could decrease congestion at the original, so maybe they get a slight benefit?)

    • Guest

      Actually, NO. The dog park was put in after most people moved into Longwood Grove.

      • Reston Watcher

        Guest, as I understood what they were saying, both Ray lay and Brian were referring to the five people bringing the suit, not everyone in the neighborhood. Did you understand them to mean everyone in the neighborhood? Or, are you saying that the five people in the suit all moved in before the dog park was created?

        You seem to have some knowledge of the people involved. Have any of the five people suing over the dog park also sued neighbors as Ray Lay said?

        For those of us not as close to the situation, it would be good to understand the facts.

    • Arielle in NoVA

      I was going to suggest this myself 🙂 TWO dog parks. More people will be able to walk to them, plus one at Lake Fairfax Park would be super for those who aren’t big on swimming but whose under-driving-age kids would like to go to the Water Mine, or who are going to Lake Fairfax for a ball game and want to bring their dogs along.

    • MJC

      No they did NOT buy “homes next to a dog park.” They purchased their homes before the bark park was created.

  • Max

    I remember when Baron cameron was all woods with wild animals and thousands of wild blackberries to pick. I say we tear down all the houses that keep complaining about the noise and go back to the beauty that Reston used to be.

  • guest

    Shame on the commenters who are blaming people for complaining AFTER buying homes near a dog park! FYI, the homes were there way BEFORE the dog park was installed. When they were informed that the dog park was going in, the neighborhood objected. “Tough luck” they were told. I have been following this issue and have never heard of anyone from Longwood Grove in any way criticizing park noise from sports. What is intolerable is the constant dog barking which the group who originally ‘sponsored’ the dog park was supposed to control. They do not. How would you feel if you suddenly had a dog park plopped down near your house and you could no longer enjoy your property due to constant barking?

    • Ray lay

      Never heard them complain about sport noise? I saw a resident of longwood grove go up to a ref and threaten him because the ref whistle was bothering his bbq. These people are the pariahs of their own neighborhood as this group has sued some of their own neighbors. I also don’t hear them complain about the noise of Wiehle which is much louder 90% of the time. What is the next step? Closing down the road.
      And for someone who says they have followed this from the start then you obviously know that only one of the families was there before the park was installed. So yes, the majority of them moved in after.

      • guest

        Oh, really, what was the nature of “this group’s” suit against “their neighbors”? I find that very difficult to believe. People don’t file suit at the drop of a hat and much less in a group of 5 families!
        Your attacks calling these people “pariahs” and then the red herring about Wiehle noise is disingenuous at best. White noise = traffic; we all deal with that. Few have to endure hours of day of dogs barking.
        Clearly you have an ax to grind. I am glad YOU are not MY neighbor. This is so not the Reston way.
        Hey, are you the guy from the county who told the Longwood Grove neighborhood “Tough Luck”??? Sure sounds like the same guy!

        • MJC

          Ray lay is one of those irresponsible dog-owners who allows his fleabag to bark constantly and disturb his neighbors.

    • GiveMeABreak!

      Its across a 4 lane blvd– come on!

    • Mike M

      Woof! Woof, woof!

      It’s not the people, it’s their unbelievably entitled whining.

      • MJC

        No, it’s dog-owners and their refusal to control their barking fleabags!

        • Mike M

          So, you don’t like people or dogs? Have you considered Siberia?


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