Several East Williston residents attended the village’s Board of Trustees meeting on Monday to oppose a dog-run site that is planned to be built in Roslyn Road Park as a part of a Girl Scout gold award project.
Complaints included the possibility of noise in the neighborhood, which could affect children and individuals with auditory sensitivity who frequent the current park.
Some attendees who reside on Lee Avenue said they were not aware of the village moving forward with the project, despite the mayor’s assurances that notices were given out.
“Have you taken into consideration what happens when the dogs get out [of the gated areas]?” one resident asked the board. “What do we do with our children, our grandchildren and other people on our block? You’re taking that away from us without allowing us input into what your decision was.”
The project, organized by Girl Scout Bree Janicek, is part of her gold award in honor of her friend, Anthony Leva Jr., of East Williston, who died from cancer in 2021 and originally had a goal of establishing a dog run for his Eagle project.
Michelle Janicek, Bree’s mother, provided clarification on what the site will look like and how it will operate.
“There’s going to be a fence and two pens: one is for big dogs and the other for small dogs,” Janicek told Blank Slate Media. “It will also be a gate within a gate, so if an owner is opening the gate up, the door can’t just run out. It’s not really going to be a park that people are going to be driving through — it’s really about people who are already walking the neighborhood now with their dogs. They’ll let them out for a few minutes to get a good free run and then put them back on a leash and go about their business. And we’re gonna have rules.”
She added: “I walk down Lee Avenue every day with my dog, so all I [and other dog owners] would do is continue to walk down there, let them out for a run and then move about my business. We’re not going to be there for hours and people aren’t going to be there overnight. It’s really a dog run — no big bells and whistles, it’s really just so [the dogs] can have someplace free to get out that extra energy for a few minutes.”
Despite the opposition, Mayor Bonnie L.S. Parente said “many residents” of East Williston had previously voiced their support of the dog-run site by writing to the village and attending previous public hearings and village board meetings.
“I want to make sure that everyone understands that there was overwhelming support in favor of the dog park,” Parente said. “The residents that were here tonight were not present [at those meetings and town public hearings], but we were happy to hear their comments.”
“A dog park is mostly self-maintained by the dog owners, and when it’s not, the Department of Public Works of the town or village will pick up the slack,” Parente continued “We’re not going to let the park be run down, we’re going to make sure that it’s a beautiful park. And there are other Scouts that want to continue to beautify the park after the dog park is implemented so that it will continuously be maintained and beautified.”
“We respect and understand the residents’ concerns, but we think that we can alleviate those concerns — parking, maintenance — and still have a dog park.”
Two recommended motions were unanimously approved by the trustees, including the board’s approval of invoices to be paid on July 11.
In addition, a motion was advanced to set a date for a public hearing to consider a local law amending Article XV of the Village Code to “require the licensing of commercial entities that trim, remove and otherwise alter trees within the Village,” to be introduced before the board during their upcoming August 14 meeting.