Proposed dog beach policy sent to ordinance committee

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — A few new rules could be in order for the town beach. Dog gone it!

No letting dogs run free on the beach among summertime crowds anymore.

Don’t worry dog owners. Considerations have been made for canines, too.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen sent to the Naples Ordinance Committee a set of proposed ordinances — ordinances designed to protect the town’s newly expanded public beach.

Well, some of the rules already exist, and are not always followed, according to an elected official, making those rules into ordinances would give the sting of a fine to people who don’t obey them.

Some of the regulations address smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol and undressing in areas other than changing-room facility. Children aged 10 years or younger would not be permitted without adult supervision.

Selectman Rick Parashak suggested specific fines be set for breaking different ordinances.

“There are a lot of people who really love their dogs, control their dogs, and pick up after their dogs. The policy is for the residents using the beach,” Paraschak said. “We want to put an ordinance in place to protect the town beach. Everyone thinks they can control their dog, but that doesn’t always happen.”

For those four-legged friends, “we’ve basically made the new beach off limits,” said Charlie Ahern, a member of the Town Property Committee that recently put together the proposed ordinances.

At the town beach, leashed canines will be permitted to travel from the vehicle to the boat launch, and vice versa, he said. The committee wanted to avoid uncontrolled dogs from running free into crowds of children, Ahern explained.

Another motivating factor in drawing the line in the sand: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies dog feces as a hazardous material, “believe it or not,” according to Ahern.

In conjunction with the proposed list of rules, an ordinance offers dog owners the trails along Trickey Pond for leash-off activity. Also, the committee recommended using 19 acres of town land off State Park Road as a potential dog park.

“We would like to keep animals from the new Kent’s Landing beachfront property,” Ahern said.

“We thought Trickey Pond is fairly isolated, and they can run animals there,” he said. “Hopefully, by summertime we can come up with a comprehensive plan for the (State Park Road) property. Right now, it is going unused.”

With the recent purchase of the Kent’s Landing parcel and the construction of a restrooms facility, the 15-member committee has been identifying ways to better protect the property and the residents who use it, he said.

Many of the policies were adopted from southern Maine communities seeking to protect public waterfront properties, he said.

Ahern said residents have expressed a desire for the town beach to be for residents-only. It was decided the transfer station sticker in windshield would suffice as proof of being a Naples taxpayer.

During the summer, only residents would have access to the public boat launch — and dogs would be permitted onto town property – only to transition from car ride to boat ride.

“This ordinance thing may be a little premature because we may not have a boat launch in place for this summer,” Ahern said.

Next, the set of proposed rules will go before the ordinance committee, which will study the proposals and prepare recommendations for the selectmen to approve in the near future.

During Monday’s meeting, Town Attorney Geoff Hole advised that someone should refer to definitions already in existing ordinances, and add applicable definitions to the proposed ordinances.

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