Private dog park approved


HOWELL – To the consternation of some residents, the Surrey Downs Board of Directors voted 4-1 on March 16 to provide an off-leash dog park for residents of the private adult community.

Surrey Downs is on Route 524 in north Howell. The dog park will only be open to residents of Surrey Downs, according to Jackie Garfunkel, the president of the Board of Directors.

She said the dog park is something the board wanted to provide for residents.

Resident June Tortorelli was one person who objected to the idea of a dog park in the private development.

“We told them Howell is in the midst of getting (a dog park) of their own,” Tortorelli said. “Half of the dog owners aren’t going to use it. It’s a power play. They will not listen to us. I’m so irate. We’re seniors, not kids.”

State laws dealing with condominium adult communities say that no portions of “common elements” shall be used for dumping rubbish or debris, Tortorelli said.

“We only have garbage pickup twice a week,” she said. “What’s going to happen the rest of the week? We own a percentage of these common elements where (the board) wants to put it.”

Garfunkel said she did not think the issue belonged in a newspaper story.

“They’ve made much ado about nothing,” Garfunkel said of the residents who oppose the dog park. “It’s a community matter. We have a lot of poop paranoia going on. It’s silly. It’s gotten out of hand. We have people who like dogs and people who don’t like dogs and it’s a shame.”

Meanwhile, Howell officials are taking a wait-and-see stance on a proposed public dog park off Easy Street. They had planned to build the dog park with a $169,000 matching grant from the Monmouth County Open Space Grant Program, but coming up with the matching municipal funds has become a problem with the poor economy.

Several Township Council members have said they favor seeking private donations to help cover Howell’s portion of the matching grant. The grant runs out in June.