Planning Commission reconsidering request to subdivide Oakhurst Dog Park lot

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt April 14, 2015
The location of the Oakhurst Dog Park. Source: Google Maps

The location of the Oakhurst Dog Park. Source: Google Maps

This story has been updated. 

The Decatur Planning Commission will again consider a proposal to subdivide a lot at East Lake Drive so a developer can build single family housing.

That plan has dog lovers howling because it will carve off the wooded area of the park on East Lake Drive. While the city maintains the dog park, it is owned by the Boys & Girls Club, which leases it to the city for $1 a year. The Boys & Girls Club wants to redirect proceeds from the sale back into its programming. The Planning Commission tabled the idea in December amid protests from the neighborhood.

Decatur resident Lee Goldsmith has been the pack leader rallying neighbors against the idea.

“We, certain concerned members of the Oakhurst Dog Park community, were under the impression that the proposed subdivision of the forested part of the dog park had been put on the back burner until a ‘better solution’ could be found,” Goldsmith said in February. “We found out late last week that the Boys & Girls club, along with the developer, Weaver Capitol, is reintroducing the motion to subdivide, eliminate most of the trees, and build two houses.”

Planning commissioners were going to consider the issue at their April 14 meeting. Goldsmith had told Decaturish there would be representation from people who are opposed to the idea.

“We’re going to have 40 to 80 people there, probably,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Goldsmith reported that the developer has asked for a deferral to the May 12 meeting.

There’s a webpage devoted to the topic of saving the Dog Park,, and the issue has received media attention here and elsewhere.

But why so much fuss over a dog park?

“I’m obviously biased, but … we have a lot of people in the neighborhood who don’t even have dogs who support us,” Goldsmith said.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • Kupe

    I live in Oakhurst…don’t have a dog…love that we have a dog park. With that said, the city pays the Boys and Girls club $1 a year to lease it. Really? I do not blame the Boys and Girls Club at all for wanting to sell part of the land. What is a better solution? Is the city willing and able to buy the land at fair market value? Is there someone willing to buy the land and keep it as a Dog Park? I understand the concern of the neighbors not wanting it sold to build single family homes. It also concerns me that we are stopping someone from selling their property.

    • JaCrispy

      You make a good point Kupe. This is only part of the land as I read it. So that means there’s still plenty of dog park left after the sale? I understand the strong attachment people develop to their causes, but the bar is quite high when you’re arguing against Boys and Girls Club funding, and doing so by claiming the loss of tree canopy and the impact on human interaction doesn’t work for me. If people really really love the park, raise a competitive offer for purchase.

  • JC

    No good deed goes unpunished. Boys & Girls Club allows city to lease the land for nothing to create a dog park and garner a sense of community, gets blasted for then wanting to cash in on a hot community that it in part helped create.
    Hey concerned “Oakhurst Dog Park community” with your quickly escalating home values, here’s a simple solution: Buy the land from the B&G Club at the price developer was willing to pay or otherwise help B&G fund programming. It’s great to mobilize the community in protest (for a dog park, of all things!), but how about mobilizing the community to put their money in the middle of the pot?

    • an

      If you would actually check out the dog park website listed in the article, there is a proposal by the Oakhurst Community to fund the Boys and Girls Club. Thank you.

      • Thisten

        I just took a look at and I can’t find the proposal by the Oakhurst Community that you mention. I see that there’s a more general remark from December about trying to find additional funding for the B&G Club, but nothing specific, and not a “proposal by the Oakhurst Community.” Am I missing it somewhere?

        • Sine qua non

          I can’t imagine the land is worth less than half a million$; probably more. There’s no way Oakhurst can raise that kind of money, thankfully, and BGCA is well entitled to sell the land they wwre kind enough to allow dog owners to use free for many years. Finally, perhaps some in the the community will see how property rights can cut both ways. In any event, people can just walk their dogs like I do. Get some exercise! Wave at the new neighbors! Just watch out for the construction traffic all over the neighborhood…

  • lamkini

    Yeah they’re not talking about getting rid of the entire dog park as I understand it. Seems reasonable that B/G Club sell a bit of it since they’ve got a golden goose.

    • lamkini

      Not sure about that “golden goose” part, but I’m leaving it because I like it.

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