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Elite DC-area neighborhood Chevy Chase rocked by dog park controversy

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The affluent Washington, DC suburb of Chevy Chase, Maryland, known for its stately homes and quiet, tree-lined streets, has been sent into a tailspin over a controversial dog park.

The ultra-wealthy enclave of Chevy Clase Village, home to former politicians, high-powered lawyers, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, has been sharply divided over the park, according to powerful recent report in the Washington Post.

The Post reports that some of the neighborhood’s most influential residents are protesting that the park, built last year, is bringing unnecessary noise and disruption to the quiet neighborhood.

The proponents of the dog park include Powell’s wife Elissa Leonard, who chairs the local village board, and has been met with fierce criticism and pushback over the park.

Neighborhood residents angry with the noise have been putting up “NO EXCESSIVE BARKING” signs and calling the local police for noise complaints, creating so much friction in the neighborhood that Leonard and the Village Board even convened public meetings to discuss it, the Post reported.

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One of the neighbors who publicly spoke up at one such hearing complained that the barking dogs interfered with her ability to “sit on my deck and maybe read a book and chat with a friend or have a glass of wine,” according to the Post.

One family lamented that while actual residents of Chevy Chase Village mostly appeared to control their dogs, city-dwellers with “District plates” were letting their dogs get out of control, and parking on their street — directly in the way of where their lawn workers usually park, they said.

As her husband has beat back constant attacks from President Donald Trump, Leonard has had to brainstorm solutions to help both sides of the dog park issue come to a compromise.

While the park is public land and can’t be restricted to residents of certain neighborhoods, Leonard removed all mentions of the park’s existence from the official website of Chevy Chase village to discourage DC-based dog owners from coming.

Despite Leonard’s best efforts — which also included allocating town funds to hire a researcher who studied the dogs’ behavior — the village’s high-powered residents aren’t backing down on either side, with former Maryland attorney general Doug Gansler telling the Post he believed those complaining about the park “should be put in jail.”

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