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Commission Again Defers Vote on Dog Park

Dog owners want an off-leash dog park at Westgrove Park in the Mount Vernon District.

The Fairfax County Planning Commission on Thursday deferred for a second time a vote on whether to allow an off-leash dog park at Westgrove Park, a 21.32-acre park at 6801 Fort Hunt Road.

The Fairfax County Park Authority has proposed allowing the dog park on 1.75 acres within Westgrove Park for the next two years. A local group advocating for the dog park, the Pumphouse Association for Canine Kindness, or PACK, would maintain the site through an agreement with the park authority.

The park, the site of a former sewage treatment plant, sits east of Fort Hunt Road near Belle View Elementary School.

On Thursday, commission members stressed they were not voting on the merits of the park, but rather on technicalities in the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan and the lack of a master plan for the overall park.

The vote on the park has been rescheduled for July 19 to allow time for the park authority board to meet and review its application. The sticking point for commissioners is legal language that states that any interim use must be in accordance with the master plan for the park; but there is no master plan at this time.

According to the park authority, master planning for the site began in 2004 but fell apart due to a lack of community consensus.

The commission on the proposed park May 17 but deferred a final vote until Thursday. At the hearing, representatives of local environmental groups spoke against the proposal, while 10 local residents spoke in favor of the park. The Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations has thrown its support behind the park.

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