Feb 28 2017

Dogs in Dracena Park, Policing, and City Project Updates

Questions have arisen in the community regarding dog usage of the upper path next to the upper Dracena Park grassy area.

Piedmont Park Commission, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue.


  1. Consideration of approval of new signage design for on and off leash areas for dogs
  2. Update on the Hampton Park Master Plan
  3. Update on Update on Linda Kingston Triangle
  4. Arbor Day Update: Park Commissioner Brian Mahany
  5. Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space and Street Tree Update for the Month of February

1.  Approve new signage design for on and off leash areas for dogs as conceived by Peter Fishel of Fishel Design. Staff report by Nancy B. Kent, Parks and Project Manager is below.

At the March 21, 2016 City Council Meeting, the City Council accepted the recommendations of the Park Commission regarding the Dracena Park Off Leash Area as detailed in Staff Report dated March 31, 2016.

To move Resolution 26-16 forward, the Council directed Public Works staff, in conjunction with the Park Commission, to begin the process by clarifying park signage, increase educational efforts by Animal Control regarding park regulations with park users and if required, to change the City Code to implement these changes.

In order to provide a comprehensive, aesthetically pleasing, and consistent approach to new on and off leash dog signage throughout the City, Staff consulted with Piedmont resident, Peter Fishel, of Fishel Design. Peter was directed to look at the existing on and off leash dog signage and develop new signage design concepts that could be used first in Dracena Park, and in the future, be incrementally used to replace dog signage throughout the City’s parks. The goal was to provide staff with a toolbox of signage options that could be used in various configurations to address specific issues unique to each park. See attached Exhibit A for Peter Fishel’s designs.

The main components of Peter Fishel’s new signage design include:

Post mounted signs: These signs consist of anodized aluminum panels mounted between 2” square matching aluminum posts with post finials. The new design has the name of the park on each sign and a graphic image of a leashed dog, or when applicable, a graphic of a dog chasing a ball to designate the area where an off leashed dog is allowed. Peter Fishel’s concept behind the graphic image of the dog was to convey a friendly, positive image. This signage has several size options and includes a main entry sign that has a map of the park. The emphasis of the map is to identify only the off leash areas and paths and identify where you are relative to the entire park. Space is also allocated to clearly list park regulations and cite applicable municipal code sections. Signage can be mounted back-to-back with each side indicating a different message with respect to leashing the dog depending on what direction the dog walker is traveling.

 Path Medallions: As a unique way to distinguish the path system, Peter created off and on leash medallions using the same dog logo employed in the signs. These medallions would be mounted on the path indicating the appropriate activity for the path. Specifically in Dracena Park, the subcommittee wanted the medallions to identify the off leash areas only. The off leash loop and connecting pathways would have medallions mounted in the pavement and at path intersections, which would clearly identify the permitted off leash activityand appropriate direction for dog owners.

Path stencils: As an additional tool to distinguish and mark the different path systems, Peter also designed a stencil that Public Works staff could use to mark the different paths. Stencils were used in Dracena in the past and remnants of these stencils are visible at both the Park Way entries. At this time, the subcommittee was not recommending using the stencils in Dracena Park.To further study and make recommendations on the new signage proposal, a subcommittee was formed consisting of three Park Commissioners, Jamie Totsubo, Patty Siskind and Betsy Goodman. This subcommittee met on December 30, 2016 and February 16, 2017. The subcommittee reviewed the overall new dog signage concepts and then developed specific recommendations that would be applied to Dracena Park on and off leash areas. They are the following:1. Minimize the number of signs making those installed as clear as possible. 2. Demark all of the off leash pathways clearly with the off leash medallion. 3. Clearly indicate on the signage adjacent to the Upper Lawn area that dogs must be on leash on the lawn area.


Public Works staff has also been actively coordinating with the Piedmont Police Department and Animal Control officers to review the new sign format and park regulations. Revisions to the park regulations to bring Dracena Park regulations in line with other off leash park areas in the City, are in progress.

At the March 16, 2016 meeting, the City Council also encouraged educational efforts over punitive citations. In the past year, Animal Control officers have had an increased presence in the Park. Our officers have been talking with park users and letting them know about the park regulations. However, the recent missing park signage near the upper oval lawn area has complicated Animal Control efforts.

          Code Revisions

Efforts by the City Clerk, Staff and Piedmont Police Department are underway to amend the code as required for any approved changes to Dracena Park on and off leash areas. The first reading of these code changes will be presented at an upcoming City Council meeting.

2. Progress Report on the Hampton Park Improvement Project – by Nancy B. Kent, Parks and Project Manager. This is an informational item. No action is required.

The Park Commission has received regular updates on this project as it has progressed. This is a continuation of those updates.

In the month of February, the contractor finished the sand slit drainage system for the outfield. As the contractor waited for a dry spell to install the natural turf, the contractor, Coastland Civil engineers and staff had a chance to see the new field drainage system in action during and after heavy rain events.

The weather cooperated in early February and allowed the contractor to install over 22, 000 square feet of sand based sod for the outfield. The sod is a tall fescue with a touch of Kentucky bluegrass. This sod was selected for its it deep root system to ensure drought resistance, once established it provides superior wear tolerance, and dense growth habit makes it resistant to disease.

The City was also able to specify a “no netting” sod. Fescue sod is usually grown on top of plastic petroleum based netting which makes the turf stronger and easier to install. The netting remains a part of the turf and after time when the turf gets worn, the netting can be exposed. Exposed netting can be a tripping hazard. The “no- netting” turf is a great selection for young athletes.

The heavy rains after turf installation provided optimum conditions for turf establishment. The new turf was substantially rooted by late February and the first mowing occurred on February 24, 2017.

The contractors are currently finishing up the La Salle planter, entry plaza where the donation bricks will be installed and sidewalk along La Salle Ave.

The project is on schedule and the park will be open, weather permitting, in early March.

3. Progress Report on the Kingston-Linda- Rose Triangle Project  This is an informational item. No action is required.

The Park Commission has received regular updates on this project as it has progressed. This is a continuation of those updates.

PG&E notified the City that the designated power pole for the electrical service for the triangle is now scheduled to be replaced on March 20, 2017 and electrical service connected on March 30, 2017. Per the utility’s request, the City pruned the adjacent London Plane street trees to facilitate the new pole installation. This pruning has opened up the canopy over the island and will allow more sunlight for the triangle’s planting beds.

As the City awaits PG&E pole replacement and power hook up, staff met with the general contractor- Rays Electric, and Coastland Engineers- Rosario Romo on Friday 24, 2017 to field test the three ornamental lights in the raised planting bed. Using a portable generator, the three ornamental lights were successful turned on and are operating properly.

An update on the triangle’s plant material and the spring daffodils planted with a donation from PBF in honor of Piedmont resident, Jane Lee will be discussed.

The Park Commission meeting is open to public participation and will be broadcast live on the City website and on Cable Channel 27, March 1, 2017 starting at 5:30 p.m.

One Response to “Dogs in Dracena Park, Policing, and City Project Updates”

  1. The questions about the dog area stem from the differences between the dog area map City Council approved on March 21, 2016 and the map staff has proposed. When I asked Nancy Kent, Parks Manager, about this she recommended I review the meeting video and read the adopted resolution. Pasted below are minutes from the 2016 Council meeting and the referenced sections of the staff report:

    From March 21, 2016 minutes:

    The Council discussed the time spent on the matter and agreed that the process was thorough, open and comprehensive, thanking residents for the significant time and thought they had put into the issue. The Council also commended the Park Commission, Subcommittee, and staff for its work. The Council considered the Subcommittee’s recommendations and agreed with the proposal with the exception of the hardscape improvements, which would have to be implemented as budgets allowed. Additionally, the Council stated its desire that enforcement begin with education to ensure that all park users were aware of the rules.

    Resolution 26-16
    RESOLVED, that the City Council accepts the recommendation of the Park Commission as detailed on pages two and three of the staff report dated March 21, 2016, dealing with hours, the topography of the park, the on leash and off leash areas, signage, enforcement, and authorizing the Department of Public Works, in consultation with the Park Commission, to develop, as necessary, any landscape and hardscape changes in Dracena Park that may be required to implement these proposals, subject to Council approval of budgetary requirements,

    From pages 2 and 3 of March 21, 2016 staff report:

    The February 3, 2016 Park Commission Staff Report for this subject contains a summary of these meetings, as well as details of the Subcommittee’s meetings, the Subcommittee’s report, other research requested by the Commissioners and correspondence received from interested residents. This Staff Report is attached as Exhibit A-1 through A-5 Key recommendations of the Subcommittee as approved by the Park Commission are detailed in their report attached as Exhibit A-4, and include the following:

    The hours during which dogs are permitted off-leash in Dracena Park should be limited to and consistent with those for the Linda Park dog run (7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends);

    In light of the topography of Dracena Park, existing usages of portions of the Park for other purposes, and the location of nearby residences, DOGS SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO BE OFF-LEASH IN DRACENA PARK ONLY IN THE SPECIFIC MAP IDENTIFIED ON THE JANUARY 28, 2016 DRACENA PARK OFF LEASH AREA MAP ACCOMPANYING THIS REPORT. This map should be incorporated into § 3.4.2(c) of the Piedmont City Code and should also be posted on the City of Piedmont website, provided to all dog owners who have obtained dog licenses from the City of Piedmont, and posted on signage in appropriate locations in Dracena Park;

    The recommended off-leash dog area in Dracena Park (as shown on the map accompanying this report) is significantly greater than the usage presently allowed under § 3.4.2(c) of the Piedmont City Code, and similar in overall size to existing usage;

    Dogs on-leash should be permitted on the lawn area at the top of Dracena Park bordering Dracena Avenue, subject to the provisions of § 3.4.1 of the Piedmont City Code;

    Pursuant to § 3.4.3 of the Piedmont City Code, the Department of Public Works should be responsible for determining the appropriate signage and signage locations necessary to implement these recommendations, if approved and adopted;

    The Department of Public Works, in consultation with the Park Commission, should be authorized to make landscape and hardscape changes in Dracena Park necessary to implement these recommendations to facilitate code compliance; and

    Enforcement of the off-leash rules set forth in § 3.4.4 of the Piedmont City Code should be emphasized by the Piedmont Police Department.

    See http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2016-03-21/dracenaparkoffleash.pdf, page 23 to see the approved map.

    So the January 28, 2016 map referenced in Resolution 26-16 and included in the staff report is the one Council approved and it clearly shows that there is an off leash area on part of the lawn. The map before the Park Commission today does not show that off leash area and there is no explanation for that difference in the staff report. The resolution also gives broad discretion to DPW and the Park Commission to implement the recommendations and it may be that without the hardscape improvements, staff feels it cannot implement the lawn off-leash area at this time. If true, that should be acknowledged in the staff report as well as staff thoughts on how to implement all off-leash areas to achieve Council’s direction.

    Dog owners, neighbors and Animal Control can no doubt come to an understanding while implementation of the complete map is undertaken. But a key issue will come up at Council in a few weeks when City Council revises the municipal code – what map will be officially incorporated into § 3.4.2(c) of the Piedmont City Code? This whole fiasco started with a faulty interpretation of a map that could never be found. It would be a real disservice to all the hard work of the residents and city staff to incorporate the wrong map into the City Code.

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