Last spring, Arlington Town Meeting passed a substitute motion sponsored by A-DOG Town Meeting Members. This bylaw change, now taking effect, allows dogs off leash, under owner control, in parks under Parks and Recreation Commission authority. The bylaw change specified certain areas to be excluded, including parks right next to school buildings, near playground equipment, and any other site by exclusion of the Parks and Recreation Commission. The program and specific rules have been developed, with input from the public, by the Park and Recreation Commission and Recreation Department. These are described on the town website. Also available at that website is a pdf brochure for download. This brochure is also being distributed at various sites, and A-DOG is pleased to have contributed to its reproduction through a donation to the Town.
The public input considered by the Commission and Recreation Department was received at monthly Commission meetings, or submitted to them by various residents. This input also included that received in numerous public meetings, over approximately two years of developing the Green Dog Plan, narrowly defeated by Town Meeting the year before. Also, the Commission sponsored two public meetings specifically on implementation of Article 36 were held over the past few months.
The first meeting, focused on all parks affected by the program, was held on June 15, 2010 in Town Hall. Minutes from the meeting are available on the Town website.
The second meeting, focused on Robbins Farm, was held on September 16, 2010 in Town Hall, at the request of opponents of the off leash program. This meeting was moderated by the Honorable Judge Rudy Kass, as a pro bono courtesy to the Town. A summary of this meeting is available on YourArlington.com and another appears on the Town website.