The Coast News Group
Vista is rethinking the dog leash ordinance at Buena Vista Park. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

Deputy mayor requests do-over on dog leash ordinance for trails

VISTA — During the Oct. 10 Vista City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor John Franklin had a change of heart about a park ordinance that was amended on Aug. 22.

Following Franklin’s proposal, staff received direction to bring a new ordinance that would return the leash rules to what they previously were at Buena Vista Park. 

Councilman Joe Green voted no and Councilman John Aguilera was not present at the meeting.

Also included in the decision was for staff to conduct outreach and to have the Parks & Recreations commission revisit the matter by determining a mutually agreeable alternative.

Franklin’s original Aug. 22 decision was triggered by unhappy constituents.

“The one thing I’ve heard from folks on both sides of the issue is a strong displeasure with the fact that we did not take the step of posting notification at the park in question,” Franklin said. “I think with what we went through recently with Bub Williamson Park, I personally feel that I learned a strong lesson … when it comes to the parks.”

Franklin was referring to how residents opposed the construction of a soccer stadium at Bub Williamson Park. According to Franklin, the City Council owed it to the residents to do a proper posting and give people plenty of time to make decisions that would affect those parks.

“Because of the strong sentiments, the disapproval about the process that we followed, what I am asking for the council to do this evening is to consider a motion to create a new ordinance that would return the rules at Buena Vista Park only to the rules that were in effect prior to two months ago,” he said.

While Franklin understood there was a clear desire for members of the community to walk their dogs off-leash, he wanted to hit the reset button on the matter. 

Councilwoman Amanda Rigby, who opposed the Aug. 22 amendment, agreed with Franklin.

“I said this before at the last meeting where I voted against this, and I’ll say it again, the process was not complete in that sufficient notice was never given to the residents of that community,” she said.

“It wasn’t posted. To me, that is not the way to do policy in the city of Vista. We need to have communication with our community — we get input from everybody involved, not just one side of it.”

The new ordinance will be brought to the City Council at a future meeting. According to the city of Vista, if it passes with a four-fifths vote it will go into effect in 30 days. If there is only a two-thirds vote, it will be brought back for a second reading. If it passes then, it will go into effect 30 days from that date. 

Vista is rethinking the dog leash ordinance at Buena Vista Park. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene