Board considers standards for private dog parks

If you're a dog owner in Henrico County, there's only one public place in which your dog is legally permitted to run "at large" (free from your control) – Dorey Dog Park in Varina.

But a request from a county homeowners' association could eventually lead to more private options for dog owners.

The Henrico Board of Supervisors may consider adopting standards that permit private dog parks to be constructed in the county. The Wyndham Foundation has requested permission to establish such a park, following a survey of Wyndham homeowners that found widespread interest.

During a work session Sept. 25, supervisors discussed the merits and faults of private dog parks and what the standards for such parks might entail.

Current county code prohibits dogs from running at large except on homeowners' private property or at the Dorey Dog Park, which opened last October.

County planning officials suggested that if the board were to adopt guidelines for private dog parks, they should require that such parks:

• be at least one acre in size;

• include fencing at least five feet in height;

• include 400-foot setbacks on all sides to the nearest dwelling or structure;

• include a minimum of 15 parking spots per fenced acre;

• be open only from dawn to dusk;

• forbid commercial boarding and breeding operations on site.

Tuckahoe District Supervisor Pat O'Bannon said she saw the merit in such private parks as a way to provide exercise for dogs and a chance for owners to interact and make friends – particularly at apartment complexes – but wondered if those complexes would be able to meet the setback standards. Henrico principal planner Ben Blankenship said that his office could design separate standards for such complexes if the board desired.

The county likely would require approval of a conditional or provisional use permit for any private dog parks, Blankenship said, to permit enforcement of applicable standards.

Planners intend to meet with the Wyndham Foundation and return to present an update to the board within two months.

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The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10

Beautiful fall weather is back this weekend! Don’t leave your favorite pooch at home – take the whole family to Canine Companions’ DogFest Walk ‘n Roll at West Broad Village or FETCH a Cure’s annual Mutt Strutt at Deep Run Park. Pets are also welcome at this weekend’s Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Halloween events taking place Sunday include the University of Richmond’s 18th annual Trick or Treat Street and Goblins and Gourds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.


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