At least one Sonoma dog lover isn't going to let the city council forget that canine owners are still waiting for a bigger dog park in the city and they haven't forgotten the possibility of dog use in Montini Preserve.
Bob Edwards, a board member of Sonoma Valley Dog Owners and Guardians, spoke before the council at its meeting Monday night, to remind members to consider dogs during negotiations about the possible transfer of the Montini Open Space Preserve to the city.
The 95.5-acre property, adjacent to the north of General Vallejo's home, is currently operated by Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. It was purchased by the District from the Montini family in 2005. Under the management plan for the preserve, pets are not allowed, city planner David Goodison told Patch on Tuesday. That management plan, prepared by the Open Space District, would still govern the property if the preserve goes into city ownership, he said.
Edwards told the council, "I was at a public meeting in 2009 where a number of dog owners showed up. We were assured that if the property were transferred to the city, the council could make that decision (about dog use)."
After the closed session on the negotiations and another matter, Mayor Ken Brown said the council had nothing to report out.
On Tuesday, Goodison told Patch the council is expected to discuss the Montini Preserve and possibly take action in open session at its meeting on Feb. 11.
If the transfer goes ahead, "the City could initiate an amendment to the management plan in order to allow leashed dogs on the trail that will be developed on the Preserve or possibly even a dog park," Goodison told Patch by email.
"Under the amendment process, the City would be required to demonstrate that: 1) allowing dogs would not significantly degrade the habitat value of the Preserve, and 2) that allowing dogs would be consistent with the acquisition objectives associated with the purchase of the Preserve. In addition, the Open Space District would need to approve any amendment to the Management Plan," Goodison wrote.
In an interview with Patch before the meeting, Edwards said Sonoma is not a dog friendly city.
"There are no trails in Sonoma where you can take dogs. Every county park in the Bay Area allows dogs," he said.
Dogs are allowed on city bike paths that serve as trails, Goodison told Patch.
There's currently a small dog park beside the Community Center on First Street West. The city has previously considered a couple of other properties—on 5th Street West and on 7th Street East—as possible additional dog parks. Edwards told Patch that neither of those locations was suitable due to inadequate parking, too much traffic or being too far from the central city.
"We want a centrally located place in town that residents and tourists can easily walk to," he said. Edwards said the current dog park is too small.
TELL US: Do you think the city of Sonoma needs another dog park? Where do you think it should be located? Let us know in the comments section below.