By Claire Harlin
According to the Solana Beach Municipal Code, the Coastal Rail Trail doesn’t allow dogs, however, there are waste bag dispensers all along the Highway 101 path and people frequently walk dogs there.
That’s just one scenario that prompted the Solana Beach City Council on Jan. 25 to introduce an ordinance amending the law to allow leashed dogs at city parks, including popular dog-walking designations such as La Colonia Park and Fletcher Cove.
According to city staff, in a periodical review of city signage, current restrictions were found to be outdated. The revision would include updating signage at parks and making it illegal to walk dogs off-leash. The changes do not apply to city beaches, where dogs are not allowed.
“The reality is that people are walking their dogs all the time,” said City Manager David Ott. “It’s a common practice for years and we haven’t taken a stance on it.”
He added that it is important that dogs on leashes are controlled.
Mayor Joe Kellejian raised the question of whether dogs on leashes would also be allowed at large community events, such as the holiday tree lighting, Fiesta del Sol at Fletcher Cove or the annual Easter egg hunt at La Colonia Park.
Ott said that for special events at which dogs must be off-leash, such as dog-oriented events, the ordinance can be suspended and permits can be issued to allow off-leash activity. Otherwise, dogs will be allowed on leashes in all scenarios. In the case that people don’t want dogs at a certain event, the city could write a permit to ban dogs for that event, however, Ott said the organizers would have to justify that restriction.