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Changes ahead for City Beach dog policy?

Alex Doty • Feb 7, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Could changes be on the horizon for the area of Grand Haven City Beach that allows dogs?

City Council looked over a preliminary plan Monday night that would change the area that leashed dogs are allowed at the beach during the summer swimming months.

“I wanted to present this on behalf of some residents,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “I wanted to get it out with plenty of time to think on it and act on it.”

Dogs are currently prohibited from City Beach in the area of the beach where the swim buoys are present — an area about 520 yards from the Grand Haven State Park/City Beach border south. Leashed dogs are currently permitted in a 1,300-foot area extending south of the southernmost swim buoy toward to the city/township border.

The new proposal would essentially cut in half the allowed space for leashed dogs. Based on the proposed changes, leashed dogs would only be allowed in a 675-foot space between a cut in the dune grass along Harbor Drive and Grand Avenue.

From Grand Avenue south to the city/township line, no dogs would be allowed while swim buoys were present.

One of the benefits of the proposed changes, the mayor noted, was that the areas that allow dogs would be easily accessible via the stairs at Grand Avenue and the cut in the dune grass along Harbor Drive, and McCaleb added that it would also be easy to mark.

“It’d be easy to sign, and it would be easy to say ‘this is where it is,’” McCaleb said.

McCaleb also noted that the proposed changes could give relief to people who live along the beach south of Grand Avenue who don’t like dogs on the beach.

City Council members say before they take any action on the plan, they’d like to receive more input.

“I’d like to have the Parks & Recreation Commission take a look at it,” Councilman Mike Fritz said. “I’m not going to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a proposal because it hasn’t been to the proper boards.”

Fritz also noted that he’d like a chance to get out and walk the sections of beach once the weather breaks to familiarize himself with the areas and their proposed changes.

“We need to take a good look at it and get some input from some people,” Fritz said.

McCaleb also noted that sending it to the parks board would be a good next step.

“I think sending it to the parks board is a good idea to get their comments,” she said.

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