Wellington Moving Forward With New Wash Area At Dog Park

The Wellington Village Council with representatives of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach Fire-Rescue in honor of Florida City Government Week on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The Wellington Village Council met on Tuesday, Oct. 23, and among the items approved were improvements to the dog wash area at the Wellington Dog Park, located at Greenbriar Park.

The council unanimously approved the contract for the dog wash improvements without discussion as part of its consent agenda, but there was significant discussion on the issue at the council’s Monday, Oct. 22 agenda review workshop meeting.

A contract for the project was awarded to Wellington-based C.J. Contracting.

The $68,900 cost of the dog wash resulted in what Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes described as a look of “sticker shock” on the part of the council.

Councilman Michael Napoleone was particularly outspoken about the high cost of the project, but he conceded that there was an even higher bid by another contractor.

The project will replace the dog wash area that currently exists within the park that does not have proper drainage and often results in mud puddles that make dogs dirtier than before they were cleaned.

The dog park gets heavy use, and some residents have taken to using small pools to wash their dogs, which Barnes said can lead to standing water issues, such as mosquitoes.

Mayor Anne Gerwig was in support of the new dog wash project and said that many village residents have voiced criticism of the lack of a proper dog wash and a splash area for their dogs at the park.

The project will consist of a 20-foot-by-20-foot area divided into separate areas for large dogs and small dogs. Special drainage will prevent mud from accumulating. The water cannot be routed into the stormwater drainage system because it comes in contact with animals and can contain feces.

While there is no board that directly oversees the dog park, Barnes and Village Manager Paul Schofield explained there is an unofficial group of dog park users who have been in contact with the village for many years about the facility. Gerwig asked that the group be consulted before construction.

As to a timetable, Barnes said that he expects it to be a two-week project, but that the contract did provide 30 days for completion. Gerwig asked that the construction occur either before or after the winter season.

In other business:

• During Monday’s agenda review meeting, Planning, Zoning & Building Director Bob Basehart led a workshop with the council on a proposed nightclub ordinance. The ordinance would be similar to one recently passed by Royal Palm Beach that would seek to define nightclubs and regulate their operation, including requiring an off-duty PBSO presence.

Gerwig and Councilman John McGovern were concerned that the ordinance could inadvertently draw in businesses that they did not want to negatively impact. The council asked staff to prepare a list of businesses currently in operation in Wellington that would be defined as a “nightclub” under the proposed ordinance before proceeding with community feedback. It was also suggested that the matter be brought before both the Public Safety Committee and the Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board.

• The council issued a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 22 through Oct. 28 “Florida City Government Week.” Among the events during the week included a mock council meeting by Palm Beach Central High School students as part of Civics 101 on Monday, Oct. 22; Read for the Record on Thursday, Oct. 25; and photos with representatives of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue at the Wellington Municipal Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 23. Gerwig will also be offering personal tours of the Wellington Municipal Complex for those who call and schedule, and the village will be distributing “My Village: I’m Part Of It, I’m Proud Of It” buttons and bumper stickers.

• Vice Mayor Michael Drahos once again used his speaking time to discuss the pending code violations at the Polo West golf course and Palm Beach Polo’s former north course. Drahos expressed a desire to not simply fight the violations before the special magistrate, but also in the court of public opinion by repeatedly using his speaking time to address the issue.

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen informed the council that neither property had its grass cut to conform to code, and the violations were under appeal. She also said that the current state of the uncut grass did not conform to “target golf” specifications. The property owner has stated that the courses will be converted to “target golf” uses, but Cohen said the courses she reviewed were better maintained, with more manicured greens than the current state of the Polo West course.

McGovern joined with Drahos to criticize the amount of time it was taking for the violations to go into effect, with the hope it would have begun at the Oct. 18 magistrate hearing.

Schofield and Cohen were optimistic that the fines would begin at the Nov. 15 special magistrate hearing.