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Citrus Heights neighbors barking mad at unpermitted dog park

A sign reading “closed” can be seen outside dog park that was installed without going through the proper permitting process at The Arlo apartments, in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Homeowners along a quiet residential street say a new dog park built at an adjacent apartment complex is causing problems, with noise and garbage being thrown over a wall that separates the properties.

Residents Paul and Kristi Garcia say their backyard has become a public space after the park constructed at The Arlo apartments has brought apartment residents and their pets to within feet of a brick wall less than six feet high.

The Garcias joined other neighbors who live along Oakcreek Way at a June 15 meeting of the Area 5 Park Oaks Neighborhood Association. In an email circulated at the meeting, Paul Garcia said he is calling for the dog park to be moved to another area of the apartment complex.

“Overall, our personal space has become a very public space,” Garcia said. “People can see into our backyard, we hear all their conversations, the dog park is less than 50 feet from our back door. We no longer feel comfortable allowing our high school daughter to have pool parties due to the lack of privacy.”

A map on the city’s website shows the location of a dog park, adjacent to a residential neighborhood.

In the email, Garcia listed some items he said he’s found in his backyard, such as bags of dog feces, dog toys in their pool, garbage and food, a razor blade, and beer bottles. He’s also heard dogs barking, people talking, and dogs fighting, and says the facility has posted rules to limit the nuisances, but claims they are not enforced.

The dog park was constructed without the typical permits and approval process from the Planning Commission, according to Garcia who says he recently completed a $70,000 renovation of his own backyard that required multiple permits and inspections.

“We wanted to invest in a home we love, in the community we love,” he said. “Had we known the dog park was to be built along our property wall we would have invested our money into purchasing a different home somewhere else but no one told us a dog park was planned to be built.”

Management at The Arlo apartments declined to comment during a June 21 in-person visit by The Sentinel, and a subsequent voicemail left with Folsom-based management company FPI Management was not returned by press time.

In addition to The Arlo, FPI Management lists Citrus Heights properties Foxborough, Greenback Ridge, The Reva, and The Woods. The company manages over 155,000 units in 21 states, according to

In an email Wednesday, Citrus Heights Community Development Director Casey Kempenaar said the facility was constructed without the required minor use permit, and the property owners are now in the process of getting the required permits and are “very cooperative.” A minor use permit application has been filed with the city that is under review by the Planning Division, Kempenaar said. The city is requiring the closure of the facility until a final decision is made.

“The entitlement process will carefully evaluate the compatibility with adjacent land uses,” Kempenaar said. “Operational changes and/or relocation of the dog park elsewhere within the complex are potential outcomes that may be considered. After staff reviews the application, the property owner will be provided next steps.”

Sentinel staff on Wednesday observed a “Development Proposal” sign was placed at the facility, and a sign posted to the front gate of the dog park said “closed.” No signs were seen posted for residents along Oakcreek Way.

A Sentinel review of the city’s project proposal map shows a permit under review for 6011 Shadow Ln. titled “Arlo Apartments Dog Park Minor Use Permit.” The application is dated June 2, and includes a brief description from the city stating: “Staff is reviewing a Minor Use Permit application to allow an existing dog park at an apartment complex.”

The city’s Municipal Code Title 106 Article 6 governing planning permit procedures says “Prior to filing a planning permit application with the City, a prospective applicant should contact and meet with property owners and residents neighboring the site, nearby residents and business owners, to inform them about the proposed project and consider their concerns in project design. A prospective project applicant should also contact the affected neighborhood association in the case of a multi-lot, multi-unit, nor nonresidential project.”

Photographs circulated by Garcia and obtained by The Sentinel show him holding a tape measure to a wall between his backyard and The Arlo property. The wall tops off at less than 58 inches in that area. He also claims the brick wall is leaning and pointed out several cracks.

Garcia told a Sentinel reporter that after months of attempting to contact the management, he has lost faith in working with the company. He hopes the permit will be denied, forcing the company to re-locate the facility elsewhere on The Arlo’s property.

“There’s enough bad neighbor history in nine months of this experiment going on that I just want them to move the dog park,” Garcia said. “They have probably three or four spots on their property where they can do that easily. Just take the material that they have put into the park, like the fencing, and use that someplace else. That’s my hope.”

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