City Council unanimously approves Fiesta Island plan for large dog park

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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council unanimously voted Monday to amend the Mission Bay Park Master Plan to add a large fenced-in, off-leash dog park to the southwest corner of Fiesta Island.

The council considered two options to update Fiesta Island's southwest section, which is partially undeveloped. The plan dubbed "option A" would have reserved much of the area for a smaller fenced-in, off-leash dog park while also including a launching area for non-motorized boats, a road extension through the park and a dedicated swimming beach.

Option B, which the council chose to adopt, will allocate almost all of the southwest area as a fenced-in dog park with adjacent parking spaces and walking trails surrounding it. The dog park, parking and walking trails will span roughly 470 acres, according to the city.

City officials developed the amendment options to the Mission Bay Park Master Plan for roughly two years. The vast majority of public speakers at the council meeting voiced their support for option B, arguing it will preserve existing habitats and serve as the only off-leash dog area in Mission Bay Park.

"I'm a strong supporter of everything we can do to keep Fiesta Island in its most natural form," said City Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell. "Preservation of open space is so very, very important."

In addition to support for the dog park, option B's supporters argued it would cost less than option A because the city would not have to make significant modifications to the area such as adding a paved road through the park.

City Councilman Scott Sherman suggested the city should look into designating the South Shores boat launching area as a launching port for non- motorized boats as well in an effort to appease non-motorized boat owners.

South Shores, located across the bay from the south end of Fiesta Island, is used sparingly by boat and watercraft owners and includes all of the amenities that option A would have added to Fiesta Island. City officials told Sherman they would start the process to modify South Shores' usage.

"South Shores is incredibly underutilized and we spent a whole bunch of money building that thing in the first place," Sherman said. "It would be really nice to see more utilization of that spot."

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