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RA Urges County to Support Dog Park Study as Baron Cameron Concerns Continue

by Dave Emke — August 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm 70 Comments

Incessant and untimely barking at the dog park at Baron Cameron Park has had residents in that area fuming for years.

The topic was addressed once again at the July meeting of the Reston Association Board of Directors, where CEO Cate Fulkerson was authorized (video) to write a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority “strongly encouraging” allocating funds to support the a countywide dog park study.

“[The Park Authority has] put it off several times, [and] they really do need to fund that,” Fulkerson said. “There are some issues around dog parks … but also there is a need for such facilities and rules around them. It is becoming evermore a problem for the community and it’s important that they pursue it.”

Reston Association formed a Dog Park Working Group in March 2016 to address concerns of residents in the area around the Baron Cameron dog park, which opened in 2001. Moira Callaghan, one of seven residents who sought legal action in the attempt to close the park, addressed the Board (video) at July’s meeting.

“The dog park at Baron Cameron Park is extremely noisy and has serious negative impacts upon those living closely, including me,” she said. “When dog parks were established, residents were promised the county would get it right. I would like the RA Board to hold the county accountable to this.”

Callaghan, of the adjacent Longwood Grove community, said the sound of dogs barking can often be heard over the sound of cars driving by on Wiehle Avenue. She said she had also called the police eight times in recent weeks to report people using the park before its opening time.

“I have been awakened from my sleep as early at 6:17 and 6:34 a.m. on weekend mornings [in recent weeks],” Callaghan said. “I get dressed, I go outside, I go over there and I take a photo, and I send it to the county.”

According to information provided by RA, the countywide dog park study would help these issues to be addressed and corrected.

In March 2016 the Reston Association Board facilitated a community discussion on the Baron Cameron Dog Park, at the request of local residents. Recommendations developed through the community discussion were forwarded to Fairfax County Park Authority, and a dialogue has continued to take place between the two parties.

Fairfax County Park Authority also proposed a Countywide Dog Park Study to determine needs and set parameters for overall use. Due to staffing vacancies the Study has been on hold for a couple of years. Fairfax County Park Authority staff has confirmed the Study was not included in the draft FY18 Planning and Development Work Plan, but will likely be added to the FY19 Planning and Development Work Plan.

The Baron Cameron park is one of nine Fairfax County dog parks. Callaghan suggested RA encourage the county to move the park to Lake Fairfax Park, an idea that has been floated before.

“My neighbors and I have endured this for a very long time. I have carried this torch for four years now,” she said “It is horrible. We would really appreciate your help on this matter.”

  • 40yearsinreston

    We don’t need dogs in Lake Fairfax Park
    Why isn’t Hudgins around ?
    Oh yeah, no developers care

    • MCallaghan

      A dog park is already on the master plan. Lake Fairfax is a far superior location for a dog park for numerous reasons.

      • Reasonable Reston

        How is it a far superior location?

        Plans as we all know can shift as one learns more information?

        The egress and parking is not any better at Lake Fairfax in fact one could argue that all other events and facilities and how far set back would actually make the location worse?

        • MCallaghan

          The distance to residents for one. Have a read of the county’s goals for land use, recreational facilities, its noise ordinance, its zoning ordinances and most specifically the FCPA standards and guidelines for the installation of dog parks. A Lake Fairfax location meets every goal, where the current location does not.

          • Richard

            Distance away from residents is not an advantage. I take my (quiet) dog to the dog park because it’s convenient, close, and always easy to get in and out. That’s hardly the case at Lake Fairfax Park. As Reston is a mostly fence-free and on-leash community, all the dog owners here should have a location to run their dogs that is fairly accessible.

          • JoeInReston

            Yes, just about anybody off Wiehle can reach the dog park fairly easily without a car. The surrounding area includes a lot of densely packed town homes and condos.

            The area near Lake Fairfax Park, to my recollection, is not anywhere near as dense.

          • MCallaghan

            Yes. Having a dog park 160 feet from residents is not ideal in the least. A dog park 2,000 feet from residents is far superior.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Woof.

          • Arielle in NoVA

            No way! If there was a dog park 160′ from my house (about four houses away on a 1/5 to 1/4 acre lot size; just down the street in any case for a townhouse or apartment development), my dog and I (or another of us) would be over there all the time. 2,000′ is a bit more of a walk. And a mile or more one way would be a long walk, after which he might be too tired to walk home, so we’d often drive to that one (especially in inclement weather, meaning much of the summer and winter), meaning more car traffic. We certainly don’t need more car traffic around here.

          • The Constitutionalist

            You really are like.. just a dog hating shrew that is angry because no one believes in your made up problems, aren’t you?

          • MCallaghan

            Lake Fairfax is about 1.4 miles further than Baron Cameron Park and it meets every land use goal, which the current location does not. It is not just about convenience. When time allows read through all the land use goals for this highly-touted planned community.

          • MCallaghan

            Do you walk there or drive there?

          • Name

            You don’t like dogs?

          • Heh

            She hates barking but not enough to get her house soundproofed even though she’s lived there for 14 years.

          • edgyone

            You are just one of those intolerable people with too much time on their hands to concern themselves with nonsense and try to ruin other peoples ability to milk a modicum of joy out of their miserable lives. I am sure there are heat pump compressors louder than the noise from the dog park. It shows a weak mind that can not find Zen in the environment in which it lives. Did you see yourself growing to be one of those old women who complains all the time? I suppose everyone must do what they must in life, some chose to be constructive and apply themselves to solving something or creating something of value, while others sit and agonize over the faint barking of dogs in the distance. Such a waste of mental energy, but small people with small concerns generally do waste their time. A fan does wonders to encourage deep sleep. Reston is changing fast, you get rid of the park there will be a shopping center there in its place. Better get used to it.

          • Greg

            Maybe not a shopping center, but if a certain tax-and-spend, bleeding-heart liberal, DC-resident has her way, there will be a $100+ million Reston community center there.

            In 2009, the person referenced above advocated a plan to build a $100-million indoor pool and tennis facility.

          • Tammi Petrine

            OMG, you negative posters making personal attacks have NO idea what a fine person Ms. Callaghan is or how much she does for many others in this and other communities. The vicious comments and utter disregard for the peace and quiet of the Longwood community on this thread are breathtakingly cruel and disturbing. I wonder if any of you could hold a candle to Ms. Callaghan’s contributions to this community… I seriously doubt it. Ms C. is one of the most conscientious, diligent citizens Reston could ever hope to have. As my father would say re: this dog park controversy, “It all depends on whose ox is being gored.” You who do not live within earshot of the dog park have no clue but seem to think Ms. Callaghan lives only to complain? Her schedule is so demanding that nothing could be further from the truth.

            FACT: I have myself heard the barking when at a dinner party down street from Moira’s home in the Longwood Grove neighborhood and commented on it years ago long before the court case was filed. FYI, the homes preceded the dog park which was installed without proper procedures. The neighborhood did complain instantly and were told “tough luck.”

            Moira and her affected neighbors have and love dogs. You who shoot from the hip without knowing the ‘facts’ of the matter are sad. How easy is it to condemn without facts and anonymously? If only you had as much compassion for neighbors as you do for our four footed friends. Sigh.

          • JoeInReston

            I know in the countless number of walks on the weekends along Wiehle – likely the dog rush hour – that I couldn’t hear anything until I went under the trees. Absolutely nothing. I was much closer to the dog park than to Longwood Grove neighborhood.

            Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chair Bill Bouie has installed the noise-reducing fencing. The county has done its own tests and found no measurable noise coming from the park.

            I have asked multiple times on Reston Now threads – when is most likely opportunity to hear the dog noise, when is dog noise rush hour – I have yet to receive one response. If the noise is so excessive and so unbearable, why can’t anybody provide a likely time?

            So let me ask the question one more time, when is a good time to witness the dog noise?

          • MCallaghan

            Weekend mornings is most likely the worst time, but dog barking is a problem every day. The noise study to which you refer was inconclusive. Additionally, the acoustical engineer I consulted stated the wrong meter setting was used. Further, Fairfax County uses a timeframe and audible and discernible in its noise ordinance, not a decilbel level. I also asked an acoustical engineer about erecting a wall. He stated that even a 10 foot wall would not be effective.

          • Donald

            My own air conditioning compressor and those of my neighbors make enough noise to drown out a 747 flying overhead and the lawn crews in the neighborhood. I guess it’s time to get RCA involved.

            Donald

          • edgyone

            OMG! Barking! At a dinner party! Did someone choke on their white whine spritzer? Those who are bothered by noise should go live in the arctic, tundra and lichen make no noise. Life makes noise! A wonderful cacophony that marks its existence. A silent world is a dead world, people like you and this witch of longwood grove threatening “your little dog too!” are in need of medical attention for anxiety. There are many good pharmaceutical remedies for your conditions.Seek them out!

          • Tammi Petrine

            To Edgyone and other negative anonymous posters: Why aren’t you proud, honest and confident enough of your uncivil, judgmental comments to identify yourselves? It seems that posting anonymously empowers cowardice and ability to assign fellow community members with derogatory labels. Is this a community value that the ‘majority’ support?

            If we believed the negative comments on this thread, those of us working to make Reston as wonderful a place as it can be should all move away? To suggest that your neighbors are witches, whiners or in need of drugs is less than commendable under any circumstance.

            And for sure “Might does not necessarily make right.” We all know that Integration was definitely NOT a majority view in the ’60’s; however it certainly was and is morally correct.

            Obviously we all do not have the same perceptions of the BCP dog park issue. On this and other threads for example, JoeInReston is measured and respectful in his discussion and seems to be a person of conscience. Although some of his info and assumptions here seem incomplete compared to the info I have, offline I would welcome a further conversation with him to examine the dangers of allowing selective use of proper planning procedures and to review areas of debate.

            Please note that first FCPA who acted without going through proper procedures and second, dog owners and not dogs are the rule violators. Further Baron Cameron Park noise (kids/sporting events) has NEVER been a neighborhood problem… Nor has white/traffic noise or A/C compressors. To simplify, for humans, evolutionarily dog barking elicits an instant adrenaline/danger alert. That is why dog barking is regulated throughout the county and should be here. As we know, the sound of a watch dog’s barking is its main value.

            Thanks and peace, please.

          • edgyone

            Wow… are you seriously comparing the crusade to remove a dog park because overly sensitive people chose to be bothered by it with the civil rights movement? Holy crap! The hyperbole train has left the station and is on its way to loony town. And the adrenal gland on you folks is quite sensitive, again another medical issue I think. Honestly, I am offended now. Typical overpriveleged white people think to correlate the struggle of an entire subset of the population to get to be thought of as human with your crazy pursuit of not hearing a barking dog. I hope you were drinking your fifth glass of chardonnay when you wrote that.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Lol.

            I hope you and Moira are confined to your own personal dog hell where you hear nothing but dogs barking for all eternity.

      • Facts Matter

        I have heard the anti dog park people make their spiel many times and each time have a questionable relationship to truth when explaining the background.

        This is a question I have never seen answer what evidence ie deciable reading do the anti dog park people have to prove their claim that this noise is continuous and degrades quality of life…

        I find it funny some of the new development and planned development I see in Reston and NOVA include dog parks right next to building

        • MCallaghan

          The county utilizes a plainly audible and discernible in its noise ordinance as well as a time limit. Until recently the county’s noise ordinance included dog park noise. The county has now created a double standard when it comes to dog barking. Dog park noise is now exempt except that which occurs when the park is closed.

          As for dog runs being installed in new developments, many of those complexes must follow noise mitigation requirements for metro and traffic noise. The windows in them might be quite different than what you might find in a residential home.

          • TheKingJAK

            Get a life.

          • JoeInReston

            What is the counties noise ordinance threshold? I presumes the unit is in decibels?

            What decibel level does dog barking reach when measured from Longwood Grove?

          • MCallaghan

            The county noise ordinance is based on time and audible and discernible. Recently the county exempted dog park noise. There is now a double standard in the law with regard to dog barking.

          • Schmoe

            What is the audible level of noise emanating from the dogs in the dog park measured from Longwood Grove?

          • JoeInReston

            What is the audible level of noise emanating from the dogs in the dog park measured from Longwood Grove?

          • Mike M

            Arf! Woof-woof-woof! ARF! Grrrr!

      • Greg

        Such as?

      • Mike M

        Such as it works for your parochial interest?

      • Parking

        I like the idea of a lake Fairfax dog park. Let’s have two – one in each location 🙂

        • MCallaghan

          I’d support the one slated for Lake Fairfax Park and then one or more in the TSA area where the Comprehensive Plan calls for noise mitigation construction to quell Metro and Dulles Corridor noise. There should not be a dog park in both Lake Fairfax and Baron Cameron Park as this does not follow county planning re service areas. I advocate for the engagement of an acoustical engineer for all dog park installations. The dog park in Baron Cameron should be closed/relocated as it never followed proper planning procedures and is a nuisance.

    • SuperCoop1280

      That is not fair to blame Hudgins because of no developers care [insert sarcasm]. If she gets involved, a tax will be created on all of us. 🙂

  • Richard

    “It is becoming evermore a problem for the community and it’s important that they pursue it.”

    Hardly. I prefer the county use their funds on more important matters, not on a heavily-utilized dog park that has been there since most of these residents moved in.

    • Greg

      Based on the article, it’s apparently becoming evermore a problem for one woman named Moira Callaghan.

      • TheKingJAK

        Unfortunately, every neighborhood has a Moira Callaghan.

        • Mike M

          I prefer dogs.

          • Heh

            They’re good dogs, Brent!

        • The Constitutionalist

          Sort of sounds like the villain in a children’s book.

      • Scott

        That would be Moira Callaghan, President of RCA, the group that couldn’t muster a couple signatures in a decade to get a Reston license plate approved by VDOT…an effort most Restonians only found out about after it was abandoned. Guess she was too busy snapping photos of the dog park at 6:17am…maybe she should have asked the owners for a signature on the license plate application.

        • MCallaghan

          Scott, The man who ran that campaign died before I ever joined RCA. I agreed to take on the task of helping to refund the applicants.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Pretty big task, A LOT of people signed up.

            /s

            Leave my dog park alone.

  • JoeInReston

    It would be easier to emphasize if I could witness the excessive sound. I have been to that area many many times and not once have I heard dog sounds from the dog park across the street. Heck, I can’t hear the dogs until I go through the trees.

    This topic is a frequent on Reston Now topic. On one thread, which I can’t find, a poster who claimed to have been part of the working group claimed that the group couldn’t hear any sounds and tried meeting multiple times.

    Question to people who DON’T live in Longwood Grove community – has anybody walking along Wiehle heard noise from the dog park and if so, was it low, moderate, loud, or excessive?

    Question for people who do live in Longwood Grove community – what day of the week and time is the good time to witness the excessive, incessant, and untimely barking at the dog park?

    • Mike M

      This is the great mystery for me. I drive by the park frequently. I have never heard ANYTHING! I have taken to rolling down my window and focusing. Not a peep! Nada!

      • Nah

        My kids play in that playground right next to it all the time while doggies are frolicking there, and I’m damned if I can hear this supposed incessant loud barking.

      • REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

        It is hard to hear the dogs barking due to the loud and incessant autistic screeching coming from Longwood Grove across the street.

        • Arielle in NoVA

          Take out the word “autistic” if you want support on this comment.

      • RestonAssurance

        A mystery for me, too. We spend seasons on the fields next to the dogs, but never hear this incessant barking. Could the weekend perpetrators be the result of unruly dog owners not controlling their dogs? Animal Control comes by to check for dogs’ rabies AND county license tags frequently. Monetary fines for not displaying these two required tags! Have these officers witnessed the hound chorale?

  • Joanna Simon

    People in large, expensive houses tend to feel entitled. People from Longwood Grove have been complaining about the DP since its inception. Tell ’em to get ear plugs and enjoy their large houses surrounded by woodland. Children shout, dogs bark, cars honk. Live with it!

    • MCallaghan

      Joanna, why wouldn’t you want the county to follow its own installation guidelines, which they did not do? They did not get Planning Commission permission. They then lied to neighbors to say the noise ordinance did not apply. Is this acceptable to you? Recently they exempted dog park noise in the law and created a double standard with regard to dog barking. Dog park noise is now exempt 12-14 hours of the day. Is this acceptable in a planned community like Reston? How about supporting the neighbors living in this planned community and all it stands for and join in asking for the county to relocate the park to a place where no one will be negatively affected? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, I don’t think.

      • edgyone

        Which is why the planned community nonsense has outlived its utility. I bristle every year I have to send my money to Reston so they can overpay for worthless lake houses and harass people about the color of rocks they use in the landscaping.

        • Greg

          Best comment ever!

        • 30yearsinreston

          They are protecting us from the onslaught of white picket fences

      • Reasonable Reston

        The reason the dog park is exempt is because of you making this such an issue.

        The law did not create a double standard. The noise ordinance did not apply was because the Virginia Supreme Court said the previous noise law was unconstitutional (https://www.aclu.org/news/virginia-supreme-court-declares-virginia-beach-noise-ordinance-unconstitutional)
        (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/2013/fairfax-adopts-new-nuisance-noise-law.htm)

        The County Supervisors are not stupid they know where the legal, and public opinion on this is and because your noncoherent arguments got so far they created to carve out to stop you. good job.

        It is clear the the public in Reston and FFX think your argument is baloney till you have proof. For years people have ask for you to offer evidence — you are yet to provide any….

    • Bah

      And ALL of them bought their house AFTER the dog park was there. Dog park was not a surprising new development. If they didn’t do their homework before buying a house, too bad.

      • Greg

        They (she) really should celebrate the dog park. Prior to that use, it was a model-airplane park. Talk about unpleasant noise…

        And prior to that, their homes were in the flight path of the Concorde.

  • Donald

    Enough. Too much time and community resources has been wasted on this matter.

    Donald

  • Joanna Simon

    Actually I think we have far bigger problems in Reston, and the world around us, than a bunch of barking dogs. They have to go somewhere…and someone is going to hear them…why not you? I wouldn’t mind if they came to my neighborhood, but then I’m focused on other things.

    • MCallaghan

      Joanna, Where do you live? Perhaps it could be relocated there. I agree with you that there are other issues to attend to and I am equally involved.

  • Waaah

    “I have been awakened from my sleep as early at 6:17 and 6:34 a.m. on weekend mornings. I have enough energy to get dressed, go outside, take photos and send them to the county, but not enough energy to buy earplugs that cost 7 cents a pair on Amazon and would keep me from waking up in the first place.”

  • Piezo tweeters&sine ways

    https://youtu.be/SQZn_PSECtU

    If you have. Children educate them?

  • JoeInReston

    From the article:

    “CEO Cate Fulkerson was authorized (video) to write a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority “strongly encouraging” allocating funds to support the a countywide dog park study.

    “[The Park Authority has] put it off several times, [and] they really do need to fund that,” Fulkerson said. “There are some issues around dog parks … but also there is a need for such facilities and rules around them. It is becoming evermore a problem for the community and it’s important that they pursue it.”

    —-

    With phrases like “Strongly encouraging” and “evermore a problem for the community and it’s important that they pursue it”, Fulkerson appears to be going to bat for the Longwood Grove residents in trying persuade Fairfax County to pursue a particular action.

    I hope Fulkerson and the RA pursue other disagreements with Fairfax County with equal vigor. Will the RA “strongly encourage” Fairfax County to take a stand against St Johns Wood Redevelopment… Will the RA tell the County that the new 2.1 cent ‘Reston Road Tax’ tax on properties in the Reston Transit Station Area is “evermore a problem for the community and it’s important that they pursue” undoing it?

    • Donald

      I believe the RA board must authorize, approve and direct the CEO’s actions. This needs to be placed squarely on the board.

      To the board — enough already! Focus the CEO on more critical matters. You made a lot of promises this past election, get on them!

      Donald

  • Chuck Morningwood

    We should tear down Tetra and move the park there. At least then RA would stop bleeding money for that boondoggle.

  • Parking

    Moira Callaghan sounds like my kind of woman! Am having a similar issue in our neighborhood – there are always kids outside yelling and playing. I can’t believe their parents would let them disturb the peace like this.

    • Off_He_Goes

      Agreed, once the dogs are ostracized I hope she embarks on an equally bold plan to eradicate the screaming children, now that is a plan of which I can get on board.

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