February 2012 home page

solomon Solution Sought

The dispute over use of the Shores Park seems near final resolution by the Del Mar City Council. It will likely be a “shared use” solution with time frames being allocated for use by dog and non-dog use. Of course, this is a temporary solution until the park undergoes a master planning process. Meanwhile different factions continue to assert their interests. Following are two different views.


For the Dogs
Wade Walker | Oribia Road and Penny Abell | Serpentine Drive


Photo Lynn Gaylord
no enlargement available


DOGS! What do they want? Food, shelter, companionship, the occasional treat and cardiovascular exercise. Same as the human members of the family. The problem in Del Mar is that it’s darn hard to find anyplace other than the Shores Park to get that exercise. Our yards are typically too small for big dogs to get enough running room. North Beach doesn’t work for lots of dogs because they have beach-related allergies or they require at least an hour of bathing after ten minutes of running.

Their folks like to gather after school and work and before dark to let their dogs run. The Shores is THE PLACE. The only alternative is to travel out of town during rush hour to the dust bowl east of TPHS or the parks in Encinitas that have posted hours for off-leash dog families.

Because of the dogs, the Shores has become THE PLACE for a lively and close community of adults and kids. People connect through dogs as they once did through their children. New friendships are formed, life events are shared and mutual support is evident. An average of 20 Del Mar families with dogs run at the Shores every afternoon (over 200 are on the group list).

In the last few years the expansion of both the Little League schedule and the number of dog families has led to conflict. Both groups want to use the field during the same “prime time” in the late afternoon. Around this time last year, the families with dogs proposed sharing the field on alternating days, but Little League required 3:30 to dusk every weekday and all day Saturday.

As discussions proceeded under the aegis of the Friends of Del Mar Parks and then the City, agreements were reached and then abandoned as additional groups formed and demanded a voice.

Somewhat exasperated, the dog community observes that Little League has four other ball fields west of I-5 and some 15 fields east of the freeway. Parents who want to play with their children away from leash-free dogs can use Seagrove and Powerhouse Parks.

Most recently, City Council directed staff to prepare a plan for alternating times and days for different uses. The Park will be available to the community for most of the time that it’s not used by Winston School. The plan requires sharing of days, times and turf. Nobody loves it, but that is typical of compromise.




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