The Coast News Group

Council reverses off-leash dog rules in Buena Vista Park

VISTA — Working through a maze of modified park ordinances, the Vista City Council unanimously agreed to amend its Aug. 22 off-leash rule decision at its Oct. 24 meeting. The off-leash dog rules in Buena Vista Park are officially rescinded.

The Aug. 22 decision allowed unleashed dogs at Buena Vista Park during the hours of 7 to 10 a.m. and then again from 3 p.m. to dusk in the open areas as well as the trails. The new Oct. 24 vote will ultimately change this.

The new ordinance will go into effect 31 days following the vote.

Unleashed dogs will no longer be allowed in the open areas and trails of Buena Vista Park.

Now, the ordinance indicates that off-leash dogs along the natural areas served by the trails are only allowed in South Buena Vista Park. These off-leash rules are in effect from 7 to 10 a.m. and then again from 4 p.m. to dusk daily.

On Oct. 24, Deputy Mayor John Franklin shared that he underestimated the interest of the community in this issue. It was for this very reason that he brought up the amendment matter during an Oct. 10 Vista City Council meeting. Since that time, staff created a new ordinance to reflect those changes.

Since then, Franklin believed there should be a more succinct process.

“In the future, when changes do come to our parks, I think it’s so important that we do post signage at the park, and that we announce where citizens can provide their input about proposed changes, and that we offer the ability to attend a meeting in the park,” Franklin said.

Franklin shared that Vista parks are amenities to residential properties and are valuable to residents both on a financial and emotional level.

He also noted that while animal incidents against people and other animals are rare, constituents did reach out to him explaining that the off-leash rules did sway them away from the trails.

Councilwoman Amanda Rigby, who opposed the Aug. 22 leash rules at Buena Vista Park, shared that this issue came about because the process was not followed through to its mandated conclusion.

“There was not adequate notice to the community, the surrounding community and there weren’t any meetings held,” she said.

“So many people had no idea that a change was happening which is why we needed to rewind this, so we could do this process correctly and allow everybody’s voice to be heard — not just a few people. So, I appreciate that we’re doing that.”

The City Council also directed staff members to have the Parks & Recreation Commission explore the issue and seek further community input.