Bethel dog park hearing scheduled
The Bethel Planning Board will hold a public hearing Feb. 13 on the proposed Bethel Dog Park.
The project first came before the board last month, and planners continued their consideration at a meeting last week.
The one-acre, fenced in park would be placed next to the Pathway behind Dunkin Donuts, on land that became town property as part of the Bethel Station project. As a result the application is an amendment to that site plan.
The facility would be a town project, but would be privately funded, similar to the skatepark at the other end of the Pathway.
A committee has been working on the plans. Steve Wight of Newry was authorized by Town Manager Jim Doar as the agent to present the plan to the board.
The plan has generated considerable concern among some residents.
To use the park in winter, an existing snowmobile trail would have to be rerouted around the park, and snowmobile club members worried about the possible impact of the change on what is a busy sledding intersection in the winter.
But last week Wight displayed an updated rerouting of the trail that seemed to satisfy snowmobile club representatives present at the meeting.
Other concerns about the park include maintenance responsibilities and possible liabilities for the town. The committee has said that containers would be placed in the park for disposal of dog waste, and they would be emptied by the committee. Any liability for dog bites, they said, would be a civil situation between dog owners. (For proposed etiquette rules, see Letter to the Editor, Page 2.)
The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Town Office. It will precede the regular Planning Board meeting.
A quick survey of several area towns revealed the following numbers of dogs licensed in 2012: Bethel (including Albany and Mason townships), 421; Woodstock, 239; Newry, 90; and Gilead, 70.