Chamber hears update on dog park, a previous Whiskey Flat mayor project

President of Kernville Chamber of Commerce Orion Sanders and Whiskey Flat Mayor 2023 and chamber board member Gary Ananian The Kernville Chamber of Commerce.

Story and Photos By Catherine Stachowiak

At the Kernville Chamber of Commerce meeting Monday, February 26, the chamber board heard an update on the plans for Kernville Happy Tails Dog Park. 

Board of Directors member Gary Ananian who founded the park, and won a Whiskey Flat Days mayor run in 2023, raising money for the cause with SOS Dog Rescue founder Robbie Miller, announced updates. Ananian has been working on the project for many months. 

“Exciting news. The dog park is almost done,” Ananian told the board.

“We met with the planning department last week. We turned in our final payment.

All we are waiting for now is the Planning Commission to make a decision.”

Ananian said he was not too worried about the outcome. “We had a good meeting with them. And everything is good to go.  We did everything they asked.”

Ananian reminded the chamber board that previously he changed the zoning on the property to prevent the obligation of paving 230 parking spaces, which the county wanted originally. He said it “didn’t make sense at all that a dog park needs 230 paved parking spaces.”

President of the chamber Orion Sanders said, “We don’t expect any issues with the planning committee approving it.”

According to Ananian the dates of their next meetings with the County of Kern could be anywhere between the months of March and May 2024.  The exact dates had not been officially set for the Planning Commission meeting and the follow up Board of Supervisors meeting, which would be public and would finalize the details.  

Sanders told Ananian, “The money that you guys raised, and the money it cost us to go through this process, and a couple other things were added, it probably is going to require a little more fund raising to get it done.”

According to Ananian he wasn’t expecting the zoning change, and other fees when he and Miller originally planned the dog park. They were also required to provide handicapped parking and change the location.  When they first met with the county they thought the project would cost a certain amount, and then later the people they dealt with, at the county level, had different expectations.

Sanders told the board, “The case is – it’s been tied up in the county permitting process.”

Ananian said, “People need to accept it takes time.”  He thought the project was making good progress compared with other previous projects, which took many years to go through. 

Ananian expects to be able to afford fencing, at a charity level, with a contractor with whom they’ve been working. He noted that fencing was the most expensive aspect of the project as was the laying of concrete.