Laguna Beach dogs get their forever park at Moulton Meadows

Dogs frolic at the Laguna Beach Dog Park in Laguna Canyon. Photo by Sharon Stello

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 its 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.

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  1. Awww, thank you for using a photo from the Laguna Beach Dog Park to illustrate the story of the Moulton Meadows permanent dog play area.
    My dog Zazu is in front and behind her are Charlye, Puma, Frank and Charlie; all but one them over the rainbow now.
    Such good times and treasured memories.

  2. That is a very misleading photo! A bit odd to use a photo of the actual dog park on Laguna Canyon Road for this story, instead of the Moulton Meadows play area. Night and day. The Moulton Meadows “dog play area” is what most people would call a dog run. It is a little larger than my backyard, which is in Arch Beach Heights and not large. Doubled, it will be a bit better, but still really just a lovely little neighborhood fenced area for a few dogs to run about a bit in a safely fenced enclosure. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great to have this little fenced area, in addition to the dog park, for local dog owners who want to throw a ball or give their dogs a safe off-leash area to run about in circles with a few (and I mean just a few) other dogs. I just hope that the city understands that this is in no way a substitute for the actual dog park on Laguna Canyon Road that allows multiple dogs to truly run full speed, play and explore, and all without turning the grass to dirt, because there is enough space. While this area is much appreciated and valuable to dog owners as a useful amenity, it is also not an equivalent to our existing dog park on LCR.


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