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Dogs a Step Closer to Beach Access

The Beaches, Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday voted to recommend to San Clemente Council that dogs be allowed to run in a proposed one-acre perimeter.

A city advisory commission recommended to the council that dogs be allowed to run free in a one-acre section of San Clemente beach, despite some opposition.

The Beaches, Parks and Recreation Commission in a 4-2 vote said the council should designate a one-acre section of either North Beach or beach between 204 and Mariposa as open to dogs off-leash.

The proposed yearlong pilot program would allow dog owners to run their animals from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the designated area.

Parks commissioners Bill Thomas and Eric Swartz dissented, while commissioners Dagmar Justine Foy, Chris McCormack, Steve Strenger and Thomas Wicks voted in favor of the recommendation.

Strenger stressed all the work that had gone into crafting the plan to allow dogs on the beach, though Swartz asserted that the move hadn't been properly vetted.

"With all due respect for Eric, we've had it for three years," Strenger said. "We've vetted everything. We've vetted our vetting."

Bill Thomas said user groups should be responsible for paying for enforcement, upkeep and maintenance, which city staffers estimate will cost roughly $15,000 per year.

with his wife, said he wanted to morph the group into a support organization called "Friends of San Clemente Dog Beach," but the infrastructure wasn't in place yet to raise funds.

Several of the residents who spoke at the meeting were against the decision, worrying about health issues with dog feces left in the sand and potential dog bites.

Marine Safety Chief Bill Humphries worried about the potential for bites, though he said the early morning hours would help keep dogs away from sunbathers.

Brenda Miller, who spoke at the meeting with her dog Foxy, said she thought the decision was a fair one.

"It would have been easy [for the commission] to say, 'we're just opening a can of worms,'" and accomplish nothing, she said.

San Clemente City Council will vote on the issue in an upcoming meeting.

Adam Townsend December 15, 2011 at 12:36 AM
Thanks for your interest. I don't agree that this sentence implies that more people were against the decision than not. Several just means more than two. I left the number vague with purpose because it was unclear how many emails commissioners received from residents who didn't speak, or which ones were in favor and which weren't.
Adam Townsend December 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Brenda Miller, who is quoted in the article, emailed me about her statements. She wanted to make clear she was in full support of the commission. I told her I can't change published material unless it's factually inaccurate, but that I would publish her email here: I would like to ask you to include a more complete statement from me in your article, if you would please. The tone of my quote at the end of the article could appear to some readers as negative, when left as is. I particularly don't want the Commission to have any reason to conclude that I was critical of their efforts. If you would review your notes, I recall complimenting the Commission by mentioning their diligent examination of the issue from multiple perspectives. The latter is important to convey my underlying sentiment, i.e., admiration for the Commission's thoroughness and courage in hosting a public dialogue on such a controversial topic. It was exemplary leadership.
Kathy Thomas May 22, 2012 at 08:22 PM
...kids in diapers/naked babies, teenagers pot smoking, or even the lovely tourist with their trash billowing out their bech gear-make more of a mess than my dog.
Kathy Thomas May 22, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I agre! Kids in diapers/naked babies, teenagers pot smoking, or even the lovely tourist with their trash billowing out their bech gear-make more of a mess than my dog.
Kathy May 23, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Good grief "poop machines" really Ms Hansen??? The hours proposed are from 4am until 9am - that is a pretty narrow window for such snappy remarks....maybe you are still frustrated your north beach shopping complex was voted down.

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