Posted: Mon May 01, 2006 10:15 pm Post subject: Parkland Dedication Ordinance
What does the Parkland Dedication Ordinance mean to our neighborhoods? It is a means to provide funding for desperately needed parkland and amenities for our community. Park fees are collected every time new housing projects are built. Unfortunately it has been many years since the ordinance has been adjusted to reflect the current land prices of today. That translates into lost revenue for our parks and community centers. The Home Builders Association has managed to defer the process of reviewing the ordinance with the City Council for the last few years. It is time the public speaks out and asks our Council members to bring the ordinance up to date.
Posted: Wed May 03, 2006 3:12 pm Post subject: Top Ten reasons for Parks
Top 10 Reasons Parks Are Important
By Richard J. Dolesh, Monica Hobbs Vinluan and Michael Phillips
of the National Recreation and Park Association.
Public parks and recreation offers countless value to our citizens and to our country. As advocates and supporters of parks and recreation who live these values every day, we may sometimes take the uncounted benefits of parks and recreation for granted. So we don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees, every once in awhile it is useful to remind ourselves of these basic values and reaffirm their essential worth.
The following “top 10” list of park and recreation values is in no particular order; rather, it encompasses the range of why we collectively believe that public parks and recreation is an essential part of our national heritage:
1. Public parks provide millions of Americans with the opportunity to be physically active.
Physical activity is an essential part of an individual’s efforts to stay healthy, fight obesity and prevent chronic conditions that lead to coronary disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Having close-to-home access to places where one can recreate is one of the most important factors linking whether people will become active and stay that way.
2. Parks have true economic benefits.
Proximity to a developed state, regional or community park improves property value. The economic benefits of park and recreation areas are manifold, but one of the most significant is the increase in value of private land adjacent or near protected public land. The proximity of parks to residential areas leads to increased value of private land, a higher tax base and ultimately many economic benefits to a community including increased local and regional revenue from heritage tourism, steady jobs, and numerous small business benefits. Park and recreation areas are economic engines that improve the quality of life and make communities livable and desirable for businesses and homeowners.
3. Parks provide vital green space in a fast-developing American landscape, and provide vegetative buffers to construction and development, thus reducing the effects of sprawl.
More importantly, parks and public lands also provide groundwater recharge areas, floodplain protection, natural sound barriers, stormwater protection from wetlands, reductions in heat island effects, and carbon uptake from abundant trees and vegetation. Parks keep our living environment healthy.
4. Parks preserve critical wildlife habitat.
As our nation develops and our rural, agricultural and forest landscape is being lost, open space and wildlife habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate. The connected network of local, regional, state and national parks across our country provide permanently protected wildlife habitat corridors for thousands of indigenous and migratory wildlife species. In addition, streams, valley parks and community parks allow natural wildlife to co-exist with people while providing enjoyment and educational opportunity for children and families.
5. Parks and recreation facilitate social interactions that are critical to maintaining community cohesion and pride.
Parks provide a meeting place where community members can develop social ties, and where healthy behavior is modeled and admired. People gather to share experiences, socialize and to build community bonds in common green spaces. These public commons are often the glue that holds the community together and the means to maintaining and improving future positive social interactions.
6. Leisure activities in parks improve moods, reduce stress and enhance a sense of wellness.
In an increasingly complex world, more and more people are placing a high value on achieving the feelings of relaxation and peacefulness that contact with nature, recreation and exposure to natural open spaces bring. People go to the park to get in a better mood, to reinvigorate themselves and to decrease the anxieties of daily life.
7. Recreational programs provide organized, structured, enjoyable activities for all ages.
The diverse range of recreational programs offered by public park and recreation agencies offers all Americans the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to successfully and confidently engage in sports, dance, crafts and other social activities. Public recreation leagues and classes offer seniors, adults and children alike the opportunity to interact with coaches and teachers who often turn into mentors and role models. Quality recreational programs facilitate safety, good sportsmanship and community participation.
8. Community recreation services provide a refuge of safety for at-risk youth.
Many parents are rightfully concerned with the dangers of unstructured "hanging-out" or unsupervised after-school activities. Community recreation programs at public park and recreation facilities provide children with a safe refuge and a place to play, which are important in reducing at-risk behavior such as drug use and gang involvement. Recreational programs led by trained leaders offer children healthy role models and give valuable life lessons to help steer youth to a future of promise and opportunity for success.
9. Therapeutic recreation is an outlet that individuals with disabilities have to be physically active, socially engaged and cognitively stimulated.
A goal of all public recreation agencies is to provide access to all people. Public park and recreation agencies are the largest providers in America of high-quality, life-enhancing therapeutic recreation programs and interventions. Such programs prevent the on-set of secondary conditions due to inactivity; improve physical, social, emotional and cognitive functioning; and slow the onset of regressive conditions.
10. Public parks embody the American tradition of preserving public lands for the benefit and use of all.
Since the creation of the first national park and the subsequent development and growth of state, regional and local park systems in virtually every part of our nation, Americans have had a special relationship with their parks and public lands. A love of parks is one of the defining characteristics of our national identity. Americans love their parks, historical sites, national monuments, recreation areas and public open spaces because they bring such joy and pleasure to all people. In addition, the American public has shown time after time that they are willing to care for their parks, protect them, and pay for them.
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 1:36 pm Post subject: Park Resources - lots of materials
for those that are looking for materials to support their position, check out Smart Growth. They have lots of online materials, surveys, case studies and the like.
In communities across the nation, there is a growing concern that current development patterns -- dominated by what some call "sprawl" -- are no longer in the long-term interest of our cities, existing suburbs, small towns, rural communities, or wilderness areas. Though supportive of growth, communities are questioning the economic costs of abandoning infrastructure in the city, only to rebuild it further out. Spurring the smart growth movement are demographic shifts, a strong environmental ethic, increased fiscal concerns, and more nuanced views of growth. The result is both a new demand and a new opportunity for smart growth.
Buena Vista Neighborhood Association
Posted: Wed May 24, 2006 1:14 pm Post subject: FAQ on the PDO & PIO
Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Parkland Dedication Ordinance (PDO) and Park Impact Fee Ordinance (PIO)
What is the PDO (Parkland Dedication Ordinance)?
Requirement of developers of new residential sub-divisions to provide land, pay a parkland fee in lieu of land, or both for the acquisition, development or renovation of neighborhood and community serving parks to serve the new residents of the sub division(s). PDO was enacted by the City in 1988 and is consistent with the State’s Quimby Act.
What is the PIO (Park Impact Fee)?
Enacted in 1992, the PIO applies to new non sub-divided residential projects such as apartment buildings.
What is the Park Trust Fund?
Fees paid in lieu of land dedication are deposited into the Park Trust Fund. Money in the Park Trust Fund must be expended solely for the acquisition, development or renovation of neighborhood and community serving parks or the neighborhood and community serving elements of regional parks.
What is nexus?
Nexus is established for projects within a ¾ mile radius from the development that generated the fees for neighborhood serving facilities and two miles for community serving facilities.
How are the fees set?
Park in lieu fees are set at 70% of the 2001 raw land values (undeveloped land) within the Multiple Listing Service zones set by the San Jose Realtor Associates. This is a problem because the amount of funds received, from in-lieu fees, are insufficient to acquire and develop the land into a neighborhood park. In some cases, the developer will dedicate land and develop it into a neighborhood park known as turnkey development; the value of the land and its improvements must be equivalent to the parkland obligation.
Service Level Objective
The City of San Jose’s General Plan service level objective is 3.5 acres of neighborhood/community serving parkland per 1000 residents, of which recreational school grounds can count up to 2 acres per 1000. The current status is 1.2 acres of neighborhood/community serving parkland per 1000 residents; if recreational school grounds are included, the figure increases to 3.1 acres per 1000 residents.
Since the inception of the PDO/PIO, 131 acres have been dedicated to the City and approximately 42 of those acres have been developed. During the same time period, the City has acquired an additional 22 acres of parkland from non PDO/PIO sources and has developed 9 of those acres.
Exemptions from PDO/PIO
Residential development projects that are low and very low income are exempt from the PDO/PIO requirements starting January 1, 2006. No parkland obligation fees are required from these types of residential development.
Residential development projects that have fewer than 51 units are subject to parkland obligation fees only and are not required to dedicate park land.
Park Trust Fund Reconciliation
City staff has completed an administrative review of the Park Trust Fund since its inception in 1988 to June 30, 2005. The purpose of the review was to examine allocations, policies and practices. While the reconciliation did not identify any major discrepancies in the administration of the Fund, it did reveal a need to allocate additional resources to improve recordkeeping, interdepartmental coordination, and the timely disbursement of funds. Staff’s recommendations and key findings will be presented to the City Council at their meeting on June 13, 2006.
What can you do?
PDO/PIO is a means to provide funding for desperately needed parkland and amenities for our community. Park fees are collected every time new housing projects are built. The City of San Jose requires developers to donate land or pay fees (known as in-lieu fees) to acquire or improve parkland. Unfortunately it has been many years since the fees have been adjusted to reflect the current land prices of today. That means every time a new development is built the funding for our parks are shorted. That directly affects our parks and recreation.
Contact your Council member and express your support for aligning the parkland fees to reflect current land values and not the outdated values from 2001. This will be of enormous help to the Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services Department as they set about to acquire and develop new parks and recreational amenities.
Buena Vista Neighborhood Association
Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 11:06 am Post subject:
If you are following the conversation - check out the letter from the DEVLOPERS to City Council regarding the PDO/PIO fee structure and their opposition to these increases. (Question - why wasn't this important document also cc'd - or at least forwarded to - the PAC/NAC's as part of the SNI Program?)
Judge for yourself, I'd be very interested to hear your comments. Post them here in the forum.
Buena Vista Neighborhood Association
Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 8:47 am Post subject:
The Mercury News has been all over this issue lately. On Saturday they ran a huge front page spread on the topic and on Sunday, they ran an editorial on the same subject recommending that City Council accept the report.
One question came up over and over at San Jose political forums this spring: Do you think the fees developers pay to provide parks should be raised to reflect the actual cost of buying land?
Every mayoral candidate answered: yes.
Tuesday night's city council vote on the Park Trust Fund will be a test of elected officials' good faith. While the proposal before the council doesn't include higher development fees, it would resolve current problems with the fund, put unused money to work building or improving parks and clear the way for a discussion of fees and other factors in the fall.
It's a good plan. The council should approve it.
Full article here - http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/14847656.htm
Buena Vista Neighborhood Association
L. Ames 9/29/06