It would have been better to have left the current policy up so that the documents could be compared. Or at least highlight what is being changed. With that said, I'm going from memory.
I am aware of how much time and effort RPOS puts in on Dog Parks. In general, it appears that the City is trying to limit the number and location of new dog parks, and ensure that they are operating hand in hand with the Civic League in the area. However, this document needs revision.
There is no provision for dog parks to be formed in an area where there is not a governing Civic League. Does this mean that an area must be served by a Civic League in order to have a Dog Park? If so, why?
The section Criteria for a Civic League to form ....Dog Park is new. Someone needs to visit the IRS website, where you will find that Civic Leagues are given 501 (c) 4 status, not 501(c)3. Generally, donations given to Civic Leagues are NOT tax deductible. To encourage more people to donate for the expenses associated with building a dog park, you really need a 501(c)3 organization heading up the show. So you would have both a Civic League, and a Dog Park Association.
Civic leagues struggle with membership, just as any volunteer organization does. To require that they assume responsibility for the dog parks places an undue burden on the groups and may cause parks that otherwise may have been built to not be developed, due to lack of available resources. Dog Park Associations are best left as freestanding entities, with accountability to any existing Civic League in the neighborhood. A recent appointment of a liaison between a civic league and a dog park association seems to be working well for all concerned. I think it would be a good model for others to follow.
In my opinion, to require 30% of households in the boundaries of a neighborhood to have licensed dogs as criteria for establishing a new dog park is arbitrary and putative.
Under Dog Park Organizational Structure, it again calls out a Civic League with an established 501 (C) 3. This entity classification does not exist under IRS code.
Regarding the water service, it is a change that the dog park association will be responsible for the bill. Will existing dog parks be grandfathered?
Under Dog Park Rules: "Barking or uncontrollable dogs must be removed from the park". Some dogs bark when they are playing. Does this mean they can't visit a public dog park in Norfolk? Or, did you mean "Dogs who bark uncontrollably"? Prohibiting a normal dog behavior from taking place at a location specifically geared for dogs to play in is objectionable.
I think a lot of the dog park rules are unenforced, and unenforceable given the public/private organization of Norfolk's dog parks. The park stewards have no authority to enforce the rules, and the response time of Animal Control is so long that they are generally not in a position to take action on specific incidents.
Most dog parks that I've seen around the country want unsupervised kids to be at least 12 years of age. 8 is rather young.
I think the proposed changes will create a new set of problems without fully addressing the current ones.