At it's March 20th regular meeting, the Conservation Commission heard a presentation from Common Council member Todd Berch about a dog park that Berch proposes for Tynan Park on Higby Road. After much discussion, the Commission ultimately voted not to support the location of the proposed dog park at Tynan. The Commission sent a letter of opinion to the Planning and Zoning Commission which is shown below in it's entirety. The P&Z will be the next group to hear the proposal. The next Planning and Zoning meeting is scheduled for April 11th, but the Agenda is not yet posted online so it is not clear when this will be on the agenda.
March 28, 2012
Richard Pelletier Chair, Planning and Zoning Commission
245 deKoven Drive, Suite 202
Middletown, CT 06457
Dear Mr. Pelletier and Members of the Planning and Zoning Commission,
I am writing concerning Councilman Berch's proposal for a dog park at Tynan Memorial Park, one of the city's conservation areas. Councilman Berch presented his proposal to the Conservation Commission at our meeting on March 20, 2012. Everyone agreed that the proposal was well thought out and researched; however, after careful deliberation the Conservation Commission voted that this location is not appropriate for a dog park. The primary reason for our vote against supporting the proposal is that having a dog park at Tynan would limit and restrict public access and use, as a significant part of the land would become unavailable to members of the public who are not dog owners and do not wish to use it as a dog park. Further, the experience of going to the park for passive recreation, its original intended use, would be changed forever once it is developed for use by dogs and their owners, making the park unsuitable for activities it is currently used for such as hiking and bird-watching.
Conservation Commission members believe that it is inappropriate to use designated Open Space Property for this type of use, and that a favorable decision on this proposal would set a bad precedent. In the past, there have been several occasions when a special use was proposed for part of a conservation area, including a proposal to create a therapeutic equine riding center. These proposals were rejected because they would create a limitation on the use of the land that would change the ability of the general public to enjoy it as open space. The Commission voted on the dog park proposal in a manner that remains consistent with such past decisions.
The Conservation Commission supports development of a dog park in the city, and has explored possible locations in the past. We would be very interested in working with Councilman Berch and others to investigate options and help locate a suitable site for a dog park.
We appreciate very much having the opportunity to hear Councilman Berch's presentation at our
meeting, and to provide comments to the Planning and Zoning Commission. consideration of our concerns.
Jane L. Brawerman, Chair Middletown Conservation Commission
cc: Mayor Daniel T. Drew Councilman Todd Berch Members of the Common Council William Warner, Director of Planning, Conservation and Development