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Commission OKs Off-Leash Dog Park

The park will sit on 1.75 acres at Westgrove Park off Fort Hunt Road.

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 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 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 for the future of Westgrove Park. It will hold a public information meeting at 7 p.m. July 30 in the cafeteria at , 6701 Fort Hunt Road.

Joe Hinkley July 20, 2012 at 05:53 PM
I've read several stories about the dog park but no one has mentioned how you access it. Do you have to walk up the shoulder from the library or Mt Vernon Rec. Center? Is there a trail to use?
Chris Parente July 20, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Thanks for this story. I've had a hard time following all the back and forth accusations in the Gazette.
earl flanagan July 21, 2012 at 04:01 PM
The Commissione present supported the motion to approve, 7-2 with 2 abstentions.
Rachel Leonard (Editor) July 24, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Note: This comment is from reader Mary Tracy, who was unable to post due to technical issues: "the gate will be opened and cars can enter, parallel parking will be along edge of fenced oval inside the road. Approval of the 2232 request marks and important step forward in the county's efforts to provide urgentlly-needed recreation facilities at minimum cost. Commissioner Flanagan's support of this commonsense solution is much appreciated."

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