Hopes for a Burien Off-Leash Dog Park Move Closer to Reality; Plus, a Poll
Burien dog owners may soon have an off-leash park for their four-legged companions.
City parks operations manager Steve Roemer told council members at their March 25 study session that two locations – both in north Burien – have been targeted for dogs to run off-leash.
One is Hazel Valley, a 2.84 acre park at 251 SW 126th St., which already has a water meter and an access trail that could be used for dogs, and is fenced on three sides.
But 4.61 acre Salmon Creek Park at 700 SW 118th St. is larger and offers more parking.
Roemer said it is anticipated that either location would be used by dog owners within a five-mile radius.
But, he added, residents living near each location questioned why the character of their neighborhood park should be changed.
And while some council members expressed support for a second off-leash dog park in south Burien, Roemer told them their preferred site – Lakeview Park at SW 160th St. and 6th Ave. SW – is owned by Highline School District and leased by the city.
Burien dog owners have long wanted an off-leash dog park in the city, which their neighbors in both White Center and SeaTac already enjoy.
Now council members will consider the issue at their May 8 and anticipate making a decision before July.
The next public meeting will be held May 8. A city council decision is expected in June.
Roemer added that the Parks and Recreation Department hopes the B-Town Dog organization will raise funds and help manage an off-leash dog park.
Group members, who have indicated they will make it so, will sponsor a “Park-n-Bark” Dog Walk at Burien Town Square on April 27 to show support for an off-leash dog park in the city.
He told council members that other advantages of Hazel Valley Park include easy street access from 1st Ave. S just two blocks to the east, mature vegetation, and picnic tables and park benches.
But Hazel Valley has limited parking, the off-leash area would occupy most of the park, and its proximity to nearby homes – including some with backyards that open into the park – raise concerns over security and noise.
On the other hand, only one home borders Salmon Creek and its larger area would allow much of the park to remain open space. However, it lacks direct access from major streets, and has no fencing, water supply or dog trail, which would make it more expensive to develop.
Here are specs on each as per the PowerPoint presentation (download PDF here) given by Roemer:
HAZEL VALLEY PARK:
- existing path can be used for access
- available existing water meter
- existing fence can be used
- existing picnic table and benches
- existing mature vegetationcloser to city center and arterial roads
- dog park would consume most of the existing site
- abuts several residences creating poetntial noise and security issues
- limited nearby parking
- lost use of path for park users
- existing undesirable vegetation area takes up usable park space
- limited visibility into site from SW 128th Street.
- loss of direct park access for adjacent residents (existing gates)
- impacts of dogs adjacent to backyard fences and to their dogs
- won’t be able to use my gagte from backyard into park
- I work night and sleep day, so concerned about house
- park trail used now by neighbors to walk
- why not use Puget Sound Park?
- why chance this nice neighborhood park?
SALMON CREEK PARK
- majority of park open space will remain
- ample on street parking available
- abuts only one residencen minimizing potential noise and ecurity confers
- marute wooded area add interest and site buffer
- existing picnic table and benches
- no existing fencing on site
- no existing access path
- no existing water meter on site
- further away from city center and arterial roads
- concern of traffic impacts on 6th Ave SW (private) to NE
- concern of traffic/parking on 18th when also have ball games on Highline campus to south (Salmon Creek School)
- stop sign may be needed at intersection of SW 118th and 8th Ave SW
- have current concern with an off-leash pit bull that frequents park
- why change this nice neighborhood park?
Here are the next steps as presented at the session:
- update proposal in response to neighbor concerns and council comments
- evaluate any other potential locations and community support for project
- next public meeting – Park and Recs Board meeting on May 8
- develop final program proposal
- city council recommendation in June
Most public commenters at the session preferred Hazel Valley Park, but we’d like to survey our Readers – which dog park location do YOU prefer? Please take our Poll below, and feel free to leave a suggestion for an alternative park as a Comment: