Is San Marino CA ready for a dog park? (Localism Featured)

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. BRE# 000872112

Last night I attended a San Marino Community meeting discussing a proposed San Marino City Dog Park in Lacy Park.  Derek Barker, a student at San Marino High School felt so passionately about having a place to run his dogs that he decided to undertake this initiative as his Eagle Scout project.

San Marino Recreation Committee met held a public meeting at the Crowell Library to hear feedback from the community on this matter. 


The proposed dog park will be located in San Marino's Lacy Park on the West side not too far from the tennis courts.  14,500 sq. ft. area that has been used in the past by San Marino Girl Scouts for their August camping/cooking week and the annual fish derby is under consideration.

san marino dog park location

The costs of building the San Marino Dog Park will run around $20,000 and include putting appropriate turf, access key card, fencing and sterilizers.  The annual upkeep is expected to run several thousand dollars. 

San Marino Dog Park will have to be self-policed.  Owners will need to pick up their dogs' treasures and ensure that the area is kept clean.

Humane society estimated that San Marino has close to 3,000 dogs based on the size of the community.  Currently less than 10% are licensed with the city.  To be able to use the dog park, residents will need to ensure that their dogs are licensed which will ensure that they have the necessary vaccinations keeping these doggies happier and will add to the city's revenue stream.

Residents of San Marino that came to the meeting were torn on this issue.  Speakers were given 3 minutes to state their opinion on the issue and then the San Marino Recreation Committee took the feedback under consideration in their discussions.

Derek Barker San Marino Dog Park presentationSan Marino Community Meeting

Proponents of San Marino Dog Park:

  • Dogs are already allowed in San Marino.  Now they will have their own secure area where they can run without a leash and socialize with other dogs.
  • Dogs need a couple of hours of exercise a day.  This keeps them healthy and not as aggressive or loud.  Dogs tend not to bark in dog parks. 
  • A dog park would provide another opportunity for dog owners to socialize and get to know one another.  A benefit to the San Marino's close knit community.
  • There are really no areas in San Marino currently that will allow dogs to run freely.

Opponents of San Marino Dog Park:

  • Putting a dog park in Lacy Park will take away from Lacy Park's original purpose of providing a "pastoral" tranquil and serene setting.
  • Size of the dog park was a concern to some.  The recommended size of a dog park is around 1 acre.  This area will be half the recommended size.
  • San Marino dog park will be too close to existing homes that back up to Lacy Park.  San Marino homeowners are concerned about the potential noise and smell.
  • Parking is an issue for some.  Currently, Lacy Park's parking is very limited.  San Marino residents expressed concern that the dog park will increase the number of visitors thus making it more difficult to park in the area.
  • Liability - some residents were concerned about the potential city liability in case of accidents, dog bites, etc.

Unfortunately I had to leave early and did not attend the discussion held by the Rec Committee.  Derek Barker reported that the vote was positive and the dog park is going to San Marino City Council for consideration.

For more information on the San Marino Dog Park, please visit -  Derek Barker can be reached at


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Maureen Megowan
Remax Estate Properties - - Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Palos Verdes Real Estate Blog

My husband Bruce and I are trying to get a dog park built on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Good luck with your efforts.

Oct 01, 2008 08:53 AM #1
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

Maureen, good luck to you as well!

Oct 01, 2008 09:49 AM #2
Cat Zwicker, CRS
Desert Sky Real Estate, LLC - Redmond, OR
Down to Earth Service; Out of this World Results!

I think the concept of a dog park is wonderful.  Central Oregonians tend to take their dogs everywhere. So dog parks are a key topic of discussion here as well.

Oct 01, 2008 10:19 AM #3
Meredith Held
Ebby Halliday, REALTORS - Frisco, TX
Meredith C Held

I live in Frisco, Texas, a rapidly growing area, which is located north of Dallas.  I have been attending meetings in our city regarding a dog park.  There were several major issues that our Parks and Recreation Department addressed: (1) it needs to be away from homes by at least 1,200 feet; (2) it needs to be on level ground--not too much of a problem in north Texas although we do have small hills; (3) it needs to have adequate space for both large and small dogs; and (4) it needs to have adequate space for parking.  The Parks and Recreation Department had actually purchased land some time ago that wasn't useful for constructing a traditional park.  It's perfect for a dog park because it meets all of the criteria mentioned above.  The research that was done indicated that we would need at least four acres, approximately one acre for small dogs with the remaining acreage to be divided equally for large (over 30 pounds) dogs.  With two separate areas for larger dogs it will be easy to rotate usage to keep the grass from getting too badly trampled.  The less space dogs have to run, play and roam, the more likely they are to get into fights (territorial issues).  The park that is proposed for Frisco will have covered pavilions where people can sit and socialize while their dogs play, water fountains for both dogs and people, a trail around the perimeter of each area, trees and boulders to break up the dogs' lines of sight (less likely to become territorial), plastic bags and trash cans inside each park (for waste pick-up) and a wash station outside the park to clean the dogs should they become muddy.  The whole area will be fenced and double-gated so that a person can enter and unleash his/her dog inside the first gate and then release the dog into the park without fear of escape.  As you can tell, much research went into this project.  I just thought I would share what Frisco's Parks and Recreation Department has discovered; no sense in reinventing the wheel.  I hope you find this useful.  Also, the dog park really isn't just for dogs.  I've made friends at the park in an adjacent city while our dogs played.  It's a great place to socialize.

Oct 01, 2008 10:19 AM #4
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

Meredith, thanks so much for sharing your research with us.  I'll pass it along.

Oct 01, 2008 10:27 AM #5
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

Cat, yeah for all the dog lovers out there!

Oct 01, 2008 11:10 AM #6
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker -

I love the dog park and just closed a house today (listing) from someone who hangs at the DP. 

The pros and cons are valid but dog people are so cool that you really rarely run into any problems.  In no time a big game of "regulars" will form to help police that park.  When a dog is aggressive, trust me, all will want that dog gone and convince the owner (nicely or not so nicely) that they need to leave. 

Oct 01, 2008 11:40 AM #7
Kat DeLong
Wheeler Steffen Sotheby's Int. Realty - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate (

Irina: I think every town needs a dog park! I hope San Marino (which is one of my all time favorite towns in SO CAL) gets one! Congrat's on this post.

Oct 01, 2008 12:32 PM #8
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Hi Irina,

Interesting post. San Marino is such an upscale place I'm not surprised that some may object, but hey it happens everywhere, right?

The fact this was brought foward by an individual as a scout project is pretty amazing to me, good for him. BTW, we had discussion regarding one in our community, yet it never came to fruition.

Oct 01, 2008 12:57 PM #9
Sharon Paxson
Arbor Real Estate - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate - Arbor Real Estate

Irina - excellent post about the dog park. I hope it goes through for the people with dogs. There is one in Costa Mesa which is right new a tennis facility, and it is a good place for the animals. All dogs love to run off the leash - I take my dog to beach (there is a county section where it is allowed) and he loves it!!!! The only thing it is a lot of work to wash him each time he comes back!! Great post and congratulations on the feature!

Oct 01, 2008 01:11 PM #10
Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Christine Wade - San Marcos, CA

Dog parks are wonderful, and as long as the owners are conscientious and clean up after their own pets, everyone benefits...especially the dogs and their families.

Oct 01, 2008 02:42 PM #11
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Henderson has five dog parks and more are planned. Sundance and I both vote 'Yes' for all of the dogs in San Marino!

Oct 01, 2008 03:11 PM #12
Mana Tulberg
805 County Real Estate - Camarillo, CA
Real Estate Agent - Camarillo CA

Hi Irina, very nice post. In our city we have been fighting the whole dog park issue for some months now. It seems everyone wants a park, but not in their neighborhood.

Oct 01, 2008 05:14 PM #13
Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC

I vote yes!  We have a dog park in Hilton Head.  It's a wonderful place to take the dogs for a romp and meet up with your friends.

Oct 01, 2008 11:51 PM #14
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Congratulations, Irina, on the feature. There are many communiities that successfully work through the issues to make dog parks work. I imagine San Marino will do the same. Keep us posted.


Oct 02, 2008 01:58 AM #15
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Athens Georgia has several dog parks and they work really well.  My daughter attends UGA and has been taking her dog there for years.  The one near her house is about 2 acres.  It doesn't have the key card system... which making sure dogs are licensed is a really good idea.  Those fees can help fund the park.

Oct 02, 2008 03:33 AM #16
Ellie Viray
Podley Properties - Pasadena, CA
Realtor, GRI

Irina, interesting post.  San Marino is such an upscale community of its own, I would have never thought of a Dog Park in that city. Thanks for the info.

Oct 02, 2008 05:23 AM #17
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Irina Netchaev

Pasadena CA Real Estate
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