BEVERLY HILLS—Members of the Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously on November 17 to begin development of a leash-free dog park in the city. The news comes after the adoption of the environmental impact report known as the Final Initial Study-Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS-MND) and approval of the change of the amount to $76,900 to RTK Architecture, Inc. on a purchase order.

RTK Architecture, Inc. continues with detailing and refining the design for the dog park and Community Service continues to develop and finalize the operational plan.

The Woofstock 90210 event in 2016 will be the first event that will allow pets without leashes, which many members of the local community have welcomed, but some residents have reservations.

There are four synogues in the area which include Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, Chabad of Beverly Hills, Magen David of Beverly Hills and the West Coast Torah Center, according to Los Angeles Times. Woofstock, located nearby at the corners of Foothill Road and Alden Drive, have left some congregants unsettled about the idea, with claims of barking disturbances, danger to church-goers, overcrowding and trash left behind by utilizers of the park.

Beverly Hills Director of Community Services Steve Zoet sent out over 1,300 letters to adjacent residential and commercial businesses to alert them about the meeting and to allow them to provide input about the dog park.

Individuals who received the letter also had the opportunity to email comments as well, as the room was full to capacity and over 22 people spoke at the meeting in favor of the dog park, according to a press release from Dana Beesen from the City of Beverly Hills. There were 47 letters received; 41 were in favor of the park and 6 opposed the dog park.

“Some feel the dog park is too much money and some synagogues in the area are concerned it will be disruptive to their members. Of the 23 people who spoke at the meeting on August 25, they were all in favor of the dog park. We have received one additional letter since this meeting, and they are opposed,” said Beesen.

City Councilmember, Lili Bosse supported the idea stating, “This is something that our community has been waiting for, for so long.”

There has been “passionate” debate over the issue, leading to charges of anti-semitism by leaders of the Jewish community. Rabbi Pini Dunner of Young Israel spoke up “against his better judgment,” he said. Dunner tells Los Angeles Times, “for this I have been vilified, misrepresented, maligned, criticized, ridiculed, misquoted and worse.” Dunner also said he’d been witness to “open anti-Semitism at public meetings.”

Bosse who led the decision isn’t going to restrict Sabbath, but will implement rules for the park, which will include required vaccinations, surveillance cameras and an on-duty ranger to secure the area.

Publicist of City of Beverly Hills, Dana Beesen has informed Canyon News that $400,000 has been allocated to the new park under it’s Capital Improvement Projects. The city is currently in the process of determining costs associated with the dog park in an upcoming City Council meeting.

Beesen also claims that if costs are to exceed $400,000, then the City Council will determine how to raise additional funds from businesses and individuals looking to make additional donations. Beesen also states that a dog park donor program is in the works, as well.

Woofstock 90210 will be held on Sunday, March 6, 2016 at Roxbury Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will host pet adoptions/rescues, a pet parade, a pet talent show, a pet market, pet entertainment, a food truck for humans. According to the bulletin, retractable leashes are not allowed and the new park is open to all breeds.

The dog park will be approximately 19,500 square-feet. There will be an area for dogs weighing 25 pounds and less, and another area for dogs weighing above than 25 pounds. The city is restricting the number of dogs in the park to 40 at any given time.

Another restriction involves limiting 3 dogs per visitor. All dogs must be licensed, in good health, and spayed or neutered. The hours of operation for the new dog park will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Hours are subject to modification depending on the needs and interest of the community.

According to the Final IS-MND, the new off-the-leash dog park will be located at the southwest corner of Foothill Road and Alden Drive.

By Anjula Montgomery and Berenice Famili