DoG Exercise Area

The Town continues to consider installation of an off-leash Dog Exercise Area (DEA) within the Town. The concept for a DEA currently being explored is to create a fenced multi-use space within Zimmerman Park that would occasionally (frequency to be determined) be used as a DEA.  Consideration of a dog exercise area is in response to a petition from over 300 Town residents asking for an area in Town where dogs can be exercised off leash.

The events and documents associated with consideration of the DEA since April 2019 can be found on the Zimmerman Park Master Plan page.

A chronological review of the events and documents associated with consideration of the DEA between May 2018 and April 2019 is provided below. The most recent dates appear at the top. Links to all the related documents are included at the beginning of this page for quick access.

Abbreviations used in this web page:

  • Dog Exercise Area (DEA)
  • Land Use Committee (LUC)

Related document list:

April 2019

April 2019 LUC Meeting

On April 4, 2019, the Town’s Land Use Committee met with Backyard Bounty (BYB), the landscape design firm hired to develop the two master plans for Zimmerman Park (one with a DEA and one without a DEA). Also joining the Committee were Mayor Barney Rush (LUC Council Liaison), Kirk Renaud (Park Improvements Liaison), David Eason (Chair of the Public Services Committee), Bridget Hartman (representing the Lee Dennison Sustainable Garden Committee), and Council member Wicca Davidson to present results of interviews with neighbors about desired amenities in the Park. The remaining two Town Council  members (Cecily Baskir and Joel Rubin)   and interested Town residents attended the meeting. The focus of the meeting was to provide BYB with input needed to develop the two draft master plans for Zimmerman Park. A slide presentation discussed at the meeting is available below. Minutes of the meeting will be posted soon.

April 2019 Land Use Committee Meeting Announcement

At an April 4 meeting, the Town’s Land Use Committee will meet with Backyard Bounty, the landscape design firm hired to develop the two master plans for Zimmerman Park (one with a DEA and one without a DEA). The purpose of this meeting is to review with Backyard Bounty the resident-requested amenities for Zimmerman Park gathered by Council member Wicca Davidson, DEA details, and the alignment of any of these with the Sustainable Garden and the Zimmerman path and staircase.

Related documents:

March 2019

March 2019 Town Council Meeting & Work Session

At its March 13, 2019 meeting, the Town Council approved the hiring of Backyard Bounty to develop two draft master plans for Zimmerman Park, one that includes a DEA and one that does not. The work preformed by Backyard Bounty will be informed by work done by the Town’s LUC and by information gathered by Councilmember Wicca Davidson about resident- requested improvements. The Council also scheduled a LUC meeting for April 4 to provide input to Backyard Bounty so they can develop the two draft master plans.  At this meeting, Councilmember Wicca Davidson will report findings about the amenities residents would like to see in Zimmerman Park, details about a possible DEA will be discussed, and the alignment of these with the Sustainable Garden and Zimmerman Path will be considered. At this stage the intent is to arrange the amenities, making preliminary determinations of their orientation within Zimmerman Park. Once complete the draft master plans will be reviewed by the Town Council and next steps will be considered.

The Town Council would like your ideas about possible improvements to Zimmerman Park. The Council recently approved a sustainable garden in the south end of the park as well as a pathway and staircase in the north end of the park. Councilmember Wicca Davidson is currently reaching out to residents who live near the park to get their ideas on possible amenities, but the Council wants hear from all residents before making any decisions about what to include in the park planning process. Please email your suggestions to The Council will review your ideas and determine which improvements to include in a park master plan, which will be the subject of a future public hearing. If you have questions or need more information, please call 301-654-7144 or email We look forward to hearing from you!

February 2019

February 2019 Town Council Meeting & Work Session

At a work session prior to its February 13, 2019 meeting, the Town Council reviewed the Town’s Land Use Committee evaluation of nine potential dog exercise area sites in the Town.  The Land Use Committee’s report detailing this evaluation has been posted to this web page.  The Town Council discussed next steps and decided that Council member Wicca Davidson will talk with residents who live near Zimmerman Park to get their views on a DEA there and on other improvements they would like to see in the park. .

Related documents:

LUC Evaluation of Sites as Dog Exercise Areas

The Town held a public forum on September 26, 2018 to gather resident feedback.  At the public forum and from subsequent resident comments, potential sites in addition to Zimmerman Park were suggested for consideration.   At the request of the Town Council, the Land Use Committee (LUC) was asked to evaluate sites within the Town that might be suitable for use as a dog exercise area (DEA). 

Related documents:

December 2018

December 2018 Town Council meeting

At its December 10, 2018 meeting, the Town Council was informed that the Zimmerman Park water drainage improvement report was completed by the Town’s water engineers and indicated that drainage in the Park could be improved fairly easily.  It was also informed that Council member Kirk Renaud and LUC committee co-chair Lees Hartman met with County MCCPS staff to discuss the possibility of a dog exercise area co-sponsored by the County and Town in either Elm Street Park or Leland Park.  MCCPS staff indicated that use of the Lawton Center tennis courts for a DEA was not a possibility and a DEA elsewhere in Leland Park would be suboptimal due to size limitations.  MCCPS is currently conducting a county-wide study to identify a suitable site for another county dog park and Elm Street Park is one of the sites being studied.  A meeting with staff involved in the dog park study will be scheduled to further explore possibilities. 

December 2018 LUC meeting

At its December 13, 2018 meeting, the LUC was briefed on the meeting with MCCPS staff at which County-Town collaborative DEA projects in Elm Street Park and Leland Park were discussed, the water drainage report on Zimmerman Park, and the rankings of the 9 potential DEA sites.  LUC will prepare a report for presentation at the Town Council’s January 9, 2019 meeting which will summarize its evaluation of the sites  and their rankings.

Related documents:

November 2018

November 2018 Town Council meeting

At its November 14, 2018 meeting, the Town Council was informed that the Zimmerman Park water drainage improvement report should soon be ready.  It was also informed that the LUC is wrapping up a detailed, objective analysis of 9 potential Dog Exercise Area sites in the Town and will soon narrow the list down to 3 or 4 top candidates for additional analysis.

November 2018 LUC meeting

At its November 8, 2018 meeting, the LUC continued its in-depth review of nine potential DEA sites.  Following the continued discussion of the features of the sites, members will revise their ratings of the sites and submit them prior to the Committee’s December meeting at which time it is likely that the Committee will narrow down the potential sites to 3 or 4.

Related documents:

October 2018

October 2018 Town Council meeting

At its October 10, 2018 meeting, the Town Council approved preparation of a water drainage improvement report for Zimmerman Park by its consulting engineer.  The Town Council also tasked the LUC with continued work on the DEA, including conducting a more extensive review of sites within the Town where a DEA might be established. 

October 2018 LUC meeting

At its October 25, 2018 meeting, the LUC began an in-depth evaluation of nine sites.  This was in response to requests at the September 26, 2018 DEA forum to further consider sites other than Zimmerman Park for location of a DEA.  The sites under review include four sites owned by the Town (Rosemary Circle, Rosemary Triangle, Tarrytown Park, and Zimmerman Park) and five owned by the County (Chevy Chase Elementary School athletic field, “The Point” at the back of the CCES athletic field, Lawton Center tennis courts, the area behind the tennis courts along Elm Street, and Elm Street Park).  The LUC reviewed maps and photographs of each site and discussed their features.  The LUC also reviewed a set of 28 criteria to be used to assess a site’s suitability as a DEA site and a scoring and weighting scheme and used these to work through evaluation of the Rosemary Circle site.  Committee members will individually score the remaining 8 potential sites and submit their results before the next meeting, at which time the scoring will be compared and any disagreements discussed.

Related documents:

September 2018 

Notice of Town Forum September 26, 2018

You can learn more and provide feedback about these two proposed Zimmerman Park improvements by attending a forum on Wednesday, September 26 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.  The feedback gathered at the September 26 forum will help the Town understand community sentiment and answer residents’ concerns and comments about the proposed improvements.  After the forum, the Town Council will consider hiring a professional design company to create detailed plans which would then be reviewed with residents at a public hearing later this year.  Any final decisions regarding these improvements would be subject to the public hearing.

September 2018 Land Use Committee meeting

At its September 27 meeting, the LUC reviewed resident comments on the DEA (those sent into the Town and those presented at the September 26 forum). 

Related documents:

July 2018

July 2018 Town Council meeting

At the July 11, 2018 Town Council meeting, the Town’s LUC presented its report on the feasibility of a DEA in the Town.

Related document:

May 2018

May 2018 Town Council Meeting

At the May 9, 2018 Town Council meeting, a group of residents asked the Town to study the feasibility of locating a DEA within the Town and presented a petition with over 300 signatures in support of the request. The residents estimate the number of dogs in the Town to be around 600 and cited the benefits of dog exercise areas and the dearth of such areas in the vicinity of the Town.  The Town Council tasked the LUC with studying the feasibility of establishing a DEA within the Town.

May 2018 LUC Meeting

At its May 24, 2018 meeting the LUC began discussing issues related to establishing a DEA within the Town. Committee members were tasked with researching various key elements.

Related documents: