RA Board Will Listen to Neighbors’ Dog Park Noise Complaints

Sign at dog park at Baron CameronReston Association’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to at least listen to and discuss the plight of Longwood Grove homeowners, who say their peace and quiet at home in Reston is being disturbed 365 days a year from a noisy dog park nearby.

While RA can listen to members and discuss the matter with the Fairfax County Park Authority, it likely does not hold any authority as the off-leash dog area sits in Baron Cameron Park, which is owned by the park authority.

The RA board will hear from the Longwood Grove homeowners at next meeting (March 24, 6:30 p.m. at RA HQ, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr.). RA says it will also invite park authority representatives. Eighty Longwood Grove residents representing more than 40 homes petitioned RA to ask for its help.

The noise complaints about the dog park have been going on for years. The dog park has been at the Wiehle Avenue edge of Baron Cameron Park since 2001.

The residents say the off-leash area, which is the only one in Reston, was supposed to be temporary and was never approved by the county planning commission.

“It does not meet the land use goals of Reston, the park authority or the county,” said Moira Callaghan, representing Longwood Grove at Thursday’s RA Board meeting.

“While the park sits on county-owned land, its proximity to RA members [homes] is unacceptable to Longwood Grove residents and should be unacceptable to this board. Nuisance noise should not be permitted or tolerated.”

Callaghan was among a smaller group of Longwood Grove owners that recently lobbied for the dog run to move to Lake Fairfax Park, even offering $15,000 to assist the process. The group also filed a lawsuit against the county park authority and the former nonprofit that administered the dog park in order to get the dog run shut down.

The lawsuit was dismissed last year, but the homeowners still want the park to move or to go away. Callaghan said that even though Fairfax County recently instituted new noise rules, dog parks are exempt from them.

“We conclude the only viable option is to close and relocate the dog park,” she said. “We recognize the desire for a dog park, but we seek RA’s assistance. RA’s purpose is to promote the peace, health and comfort of all members. It is not peaceful to sit on your porch and hear 90 minutes of dogs barking. Unlike traffic noise, barking is impulsive and is more annoying.”

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