By Jane Smith
Boynton Beach residents will soon be asked whether they want to allow dogs on the beach in Oceanfront Park.
At its January meeting, the city’s recreation and parks advisory board approved sample questions to be posted on the city’s website. “Staff drafted a sample survey and the board agreed to the questions,” said Wally Majors, recreation and parks director.
Next, he will meet with Eleanor Krusell, the city’s communications and marketing director, to review the intro and questions, hoping the survey will be posted on the Boynton Beach website in early February.
“The survey will ask residents whether they want to allow dogs on the beach at Oceanfront Park on select days and hours,” Majors said.
Then, residents will be asked under what conditions, such as leashed or off-leash, he said. They will also be asked if they would bring their dogs to the beach and if they willing to pay a fee. A permit fee, to be determined, would cover the cost of checking to make sure dogs are current on vaccinations and other costs involved with having a dog beach, including having a park ranger to manage it.
At the December City Commission meeting, Mayor Steven Grant asked the board to poll residents about allowing dogs on the beach at Oceanfront Park. Commissioner Joe Casello had proposed the idea in August.
The park, while owned by Boynton Beach, sits within the town of Ocean Ridge. That arrangement led to an October meeting between Boynton Beach city management and its Ocean Ridge counterparts.
The message from Ocean Ridge was clear: Its laws do not allow animals on the public beach. Private beach owners, though, could allow dogs.
Boynton Beach staff delivered that message in December. Casello wanted to proceed with creating a dog beach at the Oceanfront Park.
City residents also will be invited to speak about the dog beach issue at the advisory board’s 6:30 p.m. meeting on Feb. 26 in the Boynton Beach City Commission chambers.
At the board’s March meeting, members will discuss the survey results and the comments made at the February meeting, Majors said. Then, they will make a recommendation about allowing dogs on the beach in Oceanfront Park and present their findings to the City Commission in April.