Who let the dogs out? The Laguna Beach Planning Commission did so Wednesday.
Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the design and permits needed to make an expanded dog play area a permanent fixture at Moulton Meadows Park. Canines and their owners have been using the space on a temporary basis since November 2019.
Last October, the Recreation Committee voted in support of constructing a permanent play area and enlarging its footprint based on overwhelming public support. The new fenced-in dog play area will encompass about 8,000 square feet on a slope east of the tennis courts—this more than doubled the square footage of the existing play area.
Most of the commissioners’ discussion on Wednesday focused on relocating the main entrance from off the walking path and onto the Southend of the dog park. Part of the reasoning was to separate tense meetings of canine noses from casual walkers out for a stroll. There’s also a tree that offers some shade to visitors near the relocated entrance.
Vining plants will be planted along the eastern fence to create a continuous visual barrier. New benches and trash and recycling containers will be added inside the play area. Commissioners also supported a suggestion from Laguna Canyon resident and dog trainer Penny Milne to add a water bottle filling station that can be used to fill dog bowls.
Public Works project director Tom Perez pointed out that a fire hydrant within the temporary park is for decoration only and will remain for needy pups.
City staffers have estimated the cost for the proposed permanent dog park at about $110,000. This amount would cover the installation of permeant fencing, new turf, landscaping, and improved irrigation.
The existing dog play area will be closed during construction, which is expected to last for two months.
The dog play area will be open from dawn to dusk every day except Thursdays when it will be closed for maintenance.
“The Friends of Laguna Beach Dog Park support all off-leash areas provided by the City of Laguna Beach so that pups and their humans can play and socialize in a safe environment,” Marc Buchan, president of Friends of Laguna Beach Dog Park, wrote in an email. “So it’s great news that this site may become a permanent fixture.”
Milne is glad that Laguna Beach is making its newest dog park permanent and expanded. She encouraged city staffers to make sure all plants used in the landscape design are not toxic for curious dogs.
“Some shade seems like a good idea and water is a necessity,” Milne added.