The Fairfax County Planning Commission approved on Thursday the interim use of part of Westgrove Park as an off-leash dog park.
Commissioner Earl Flanagan, Mount Vernon district representative, said the dog park received overwhelming support from nearby community associations and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland. Sandy Stallman, a manager with the Fairfax County Park Authority, said the park authority had passed a motion in favor of the off-leash dog park and that the state does not require a master plan be in place before an interim use is approved, a sticking point in the debate over the park’s use.
At-large commissioner James Hart, who voted against the dog park, said he was concerned that the park authority still had no master plan for Westgrove Park.
“I think that is where this falls short,” he said. “… I hope that they’ll do that. I wish that they would.”
Providence commissioner Kenneth Lawrence said he could not support the dog park due to what he saw as a conflict with the county’s comprehensive plan.
Westgrove Park, which sits on the site of a former sewage treatment plant, covers 21 acres and is located east of Fort Hunt Road just south of Belle View Elementary School. The planning commission previously delayed a vote on the dog park twice, citing concerns that legal language that states that any interim use must be in accordance with the master plan for the park; but no master plan existed.
Master planning for the site began in 2004 but fell apart due to a lack of community consensus.
The commission held a public hearing on the proposed park May 17, during which representatives of local environmental groups spoke out against the proposal, while 10 local residents spoke in favor of the park.
The park authority has resumed the master planning process for the future of Westgrove Park. It will hold a public information meeting at 7 p.m. July 30 in the cafeteria at Belle View Elementary School, 6701 Fort Hunt Road.