The parks and recreation department will likely ask city council to delay this year’s planned doubling of the fees developers pay to fund the acquisition and development of parks around the city.
The dramatic increase is the result of guidelines set out in the 2016 revision of the Parks Dedication Ordinance, which provided for the fees to be based on the average cost of acquiring land over the previous five years.
With real estate prices across the city having risen dramatically in recent years, the fee per residential or hotel unit was expected to rise by around 120%. The fee schedule in place is broken down into different costs for low, medium and high density projects, with unit fees for high density projects rising from just over $ 1,500 to almost $ 3,500. Fees for low density projects are expected to drop from just over $ 2,500 per unit to over $ 5,600.
In a note Posted on Friday, PARD director Kimberly McNeeley wrote that the department had not prepared the development community and other stakeholders for the increase. She said PARD will soon ask city council to consider an amendment to the ordinance that would leave the current fee in place while researching how other cities are handling the administration of fees for park allocation, this report said. being expected by April.
The note reads in part: “During the fiscal year 2022 budgeting process, the Parks and Recreation Department did not inform or communicate these significant cost increases to internal or external stakeholders; thus eliminating the capacity of the stakeholder to consider appropriately the impacts related to the financing and the budgets of the project. Pre-adoption communication with stakeholders would have ensured an opportunity to effectively plan future costs and consider strategies for affordability, impact on affordability and project viability.
The note also notes that land acquisition costs for PARD increased 166 percent in the most recent fiscal year.
The increases may impact a review being considered by the Housing and Planning Department for the option of payment in lieu of fees paid by developers to fund affordable housing programs in the city.
An attachment to the Housing and Planning department’s memo says substantial increases in other fees on development projects could reduce the viability of some projects, or at least reduce the number of affordable units that developers are ready. to be included in new construction due to the increase in park fees.
“HPD would like to have the opportunity to conduct an Affordability Impact Study for Parkland FY21-22 assignment costs to understand the impact of this increase in development costs on housing as well as discuss the policy alternatives that could reduce negative impacts on housing affordability. Many requirements that impact the cost of development impact affordable housing incentive programs and can undermine the success of these voluntary programs, resulting in the construction of less affordable housing without direct subsidy.
A presentation to the Parks and Recreation Council last month on the Parks Allocation Ordinance noted that the cost of acquiring and developing the parks was about $ 14 million during the fiscal year most recent budget. Parks staff also noted that the ordinance has allowed the acquisition of 125 acres of park since 2018.
The 2016 review of the ordinance included the goal of making parks accessible to all residents within a five- to 10-minute walk – or a ratio of 9.4 acres per 1,000 residents – and created a method to generate funds for the acquisition of parks outside the voters. bond projects approved.
As part of the planning and construction process, developers can either provide a new park in their project or pay the fees required by the ordinance. PARD uses this money to buy new park or make improvements to existing facilities.
During the presentation to the parks board last month, staff noted that park allocation fees had “increased exponentially” in recent years due to the change in the 2016 ordinance and financial pressures on properties throughout the city.
Photo of Swede Hill Pocket Park via Google Maps.
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