There’s a new park in Sandy Springs, but your dog is not among those who will be allowed to enjoy it.
City Green is an outdoor recreation area at City Springs, the new mixed-use development in the city, comprised of a half-acre lawn, tables, swings, fountains, play areas for children and paved areas. But the majority of the Sandy Springs City Council does not want the green space covered in dog feces.
At its meeting Tuesday, the City Council approved an ordinance that forbids pets from being allowed on City Green.
And those who don’t follow the rules can be fined: $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second and third offenses and $250 for additional offenses. Guide and service dogs will be exempt from the ban.
The ordinance didn’t pass without some debate. Councilmembers Tibby DeJulio and Chris Burnett voted against it, but the ordinance went through with a 4-2 vote.
Kristin Byars, an assistant to the city manager, gave a presentation to city leaders outlining the problem and what other cities have done about similar issues.
There are several locations within City Springs where dog owners can grab bags to pick up their pet’s droppings and then dispose of them, but most people aren’t using them, apparently, officials said. According to the presentation “the majority” of the residents living at Aston, the apartment complex in City Springs, have dogs.
“Several landscape areas have been damaged” by pet waste, The city said in a press release.
“We can’t do nothing,” Mayor Rusty Paul said at the council meeting. “This, to me, is a public health issue.”
The presentation showed that there are a handful of other parks near metro Atlanta that do not allow dogs, such as Boling Park in Canton, the Sawnee Mountain Preserve in Forsyth County and all the parks in Douglasville.
City staff noted in its presentation that there are several other parks and green areas in the city that allow pets, such as Morgan Falls Dog Park, Heritage Green, Abernathy Linear Parks, Big Trees Forest Preserve and Windsor Meadows Park. The area of the farmers market in City Springs will remain open to pets.
The ordinance goes into effect immediately, but the city will not fine offenders in the first 30 days. Signs will be placed near City Green notifying pet owners of the new ordinance.
Most people reacting to the ordinance on the Sandy Springs Facebook page were against it. One user commented: “So... I can't walk my dog on the nice new City Green, which was paid via my tax dollars? I understand picking up dog waste, but restricting the whole area is extreme.”
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