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Thread: Pay-in-lieu of parks

  1. #1

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    Pay-in-lieu of parks

    Does anyone do this? Especially in an urban downtown area, does anyone offer the option to developers of payment in lieu of parkland and/or open space as opposed to building open space within a new development?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    The City of Appleton, WI requires that and has for many years.

    I would contact them for more info if you wish.

    Good luck.

    Mike

  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Virtually every city in Texas has some kind of fee-in-lieu option. I've got a report on it that I whipped up a month or two ago that lists the fee amounts for about 12 mid-large cities in Texas I'll post on Monday or Tuesday.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WadeBurke View post
    Does anyone do this? Especially in an urban downtown area, does anyone offer the option to developers of payment in lieu of parkland and/or open space as opposed to building open space within a new development?
    If you have not already, give the Fairfax County Park Authority a call.

  5. #5
         
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    Payment in lieu of park land yes. For open space no. However for true uban cores this should be an option or to use it to trade for better design that fits the neighborhood.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    We routinely take a fee in lieu of in the rural area where I work. Our fee is so low (though higher than other areas) that the developers don't blink-they're rather pay than lose lot sizes and then lots.
    With watershed resources and other natural features present in our township, I'd rather see them do a conservation design instead, and not take the money. However, it's gotten so routine for them that once the developers ask, it's usually given without thinking.
    I'd caution to make sure that the fee is high enough that it isn't so profitable for developers and that you don't get locked into a routine. I'd rather see accepting the fee as an exception rather than the rule.. but that's just my opinion.
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Here's a excerpt from a report I did on park fees-in-lieu with a sample of fees for other cities.

    In Texas and the nation, courts have ruled it is legal for municipalities to require residential developments to either dedicate land for park purposes or contribute to a special fund to be used for neighborhood parks. The parkland or fee requirement is regarded as mitigation for the impact of the additional burden on the park system.

    The __________ Land Development Code discusses parks and open space in Chapter 7.6. The requirements do not apply to the subdivision of commercial, industrial or other non-residential lots, or to the replatting of previously platted residential lots (when such lots were subject to parkland dedication requirements at the time of prior subdivision). The Code permits payment of a fee rather than dedicating property. These fees are placed in an account earmarked solely for the purchase and development (new playscapes, tennis courts, trails, etc.) of parkland either in the same park benefit area in which the subdivision is located, or for regional parks and open space that will benefit all of the citizens of ____________. The fees must be expended within ten years of the contribution.

    The City periodically reviews these fees to determine whether they remain appropriate. Cities vary widely in the amounts and methods they use to determine the fee. The table below gives the fees for several Texas cities standardized per unit:

    City, Fee Per Unit
    Georgetown, $250
    San Marcos, $342, ($266 per multifamily unit)
    Fort Worth, $500
    Austin, $518
    Bryan, $520
    College Station, $556
    New Braunfels, $600
    Cedar Park, $720
    Arlington, $1,100
    El Paso, $1,370

    Average Fee, $648

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian SideshowBob's avatar
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    We actually charge a fee and allow the possibility of dedicating "land in lieu" if the land is deemed suitable for use by the City Council.
    Fighting congestion by widening roads is like fighting obesity by buying larger clothes.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    We do both.

    ours is based at the rate of 8% of the value of the land at the time of application.

    we also have a process in which they have to turn us over identified significant woodlots. we buy the land from environmental levies they submit. it is not purchased anywhere near market value.

    finally, we also require that other environmetnal lands (flood plains and steep slopes) be turned over to the local conservation authority. this is done with little to no compensation.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian smarty's avatar
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    City of Bellingham, WA - Park Impact Fees

    ........well, if the power holds on while I'm typing this....big wind storm going on now......our Parks Department was able to have our City Council adopt a Park Impact Fee ordinance last year. For each new SFR/Duplex the fee is $3,891.51/unit, for multi-family you catch a break for $2851.67/unit.

    This money goes (as I understand it) into a 'fund' for parks/property aquisition. These fees are assessed and paid prior to release of a building permit. Hopefully I pasted the right link here.......

    http://www.cob.org/web/bmcode.nsf/$$ViewTemplate%20for%20Title%2019?OpenForm&Start=1&Count=30&Expand=1&Seq=1
    I wonder if birds know it's Tuesday?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    The City of Appleton, WI requires that and has for many years.

    I would contact them for more info if you wish.

    Good luck.

    Mike
    I would hope they are not.

    In June of 2006 the State legislature and governor specifically removed these provisions from statutes, and amended the impact fee laws. Any Wisconsin community requiring fee in lieu of dedication is acting illegally after June 14, 2006.

    On the flip side, its been great for the Impact Fee Needs Assessment business.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Over here we have specific legislation that governs developer contributions and allows Councils to charge a certain rate per development, but also allows negotiations with developers for specific agreements- for land dedication and other bits and pieces.Of course this is clearly not allowing developers to forgo open space requirements for their development!
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    I would hope they are not.

    In June of 2006 the State legislature and governor specifically removed these provisions from statutes, and amended the impact fee laws. Any Wisconsin community requiring fee in lieu of dedication is acting illegally after June 14, 2006.

    On the flip side, its been great for the Impact Fee Needs Assessment business.
    Seeing as this one came in without me knowing (I don't yet work in the field), what is the new procedure for parkland?

    The legislature/governor have been doing a lot of strange things in the last few years, one of them being that change a couple of years ago that now makes it nearly impossible for a city/village to annex land in a county that it was not already in. This one has already negatively affected economic development in the state.

    Mike

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    I would hope they are not.

    In June of 2006 the State legislature and governor specifically removed these provisions from statutes, and amended the impact fee laws. Any Wisconsin community requiring fee in lieu of dedication is acting illegally after June 14, 2006.

    On the flip side, its been great for the Impact Fee Needs Assessment business.
    I was hoping someone would bring this up. There are a number of communities in my state that has a minimum land dedication or fee in-lieu requirement. While state law and courts might allow them as a legislative perogative of the governing body, I believe that fair and just governance dictates that the community adopt a reasonable Level of Service (LOS) Standard and correct existing deficiencies prior to placing an exaction on new development. I think impact fees, dedications and other exactions should be used, but communities need to not be arbitrary about it. The only legislative/arbitrary part is the LOS (for instance 1 acre of park per 500 population) and that should be established in part on the existing conditions and within the community. All other quantities are based on quantifiable data ($ per acre, demand generated per household, etc...).

    I won't go into my thoughts on development agreements.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  15. #15
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup....

    Most places I've worked had a fee in lieu system in place for park development. We developed a fee for both park land and park development at the last place I worked.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  16. #16
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Let me be a stick in the mud for a second.

    I support the idea of Impact Fees (when based on an established Level of Service). In such a situation, a impact fee is required for every lot created or per square foot constructed.

    However, I generally oppose fee-in-lieu systems. In a fee-in-lieu system, a development requirement exists (say a requirement to construct a sidewalk or plant trees, etc.). Some communities allow fees to be paid to the community instead of providing the required improvement. This leaves a huge potential for abuse both ways (private side and public side).

    First, it is very difficult for fees to be equitable – particularly over time. Fees, if not taken on a case-by-case basis and/or updated regularly, will really have little real relationship to the cost or worth of the improvement. So, it really becomes an accounting task for the developer to determine whether to construct or pay the fee. Is this fair to the community?

    Secondly, communities can (and do) become addicted to this funding tool and abuse them. I know of more than one community that has cranked up their landscaping requirements to obscene levels. No tract of land can effectively provide that much landscaping. But, don't worry Mr. Developer. They allow fees-in-lieu so you can buy your way out of the regulations. These fees then allow for landscaping in other areas of the community. This is nothing short of extortion. When you get to make the rules, it is too tempting to make them difficult enough to become money-makers. Is this fair to the developer?

    If a community values an improvement, then require it. Nothing wrong with that. Require it for everyone and do it fairly. Don’t kind of require it. If there are legitimate reasons to waive the improvement, then waive it.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I agree with Mallen on most of his observations. Ethical, professional and disciplined government is always necessary. That's why I think a detailed impact fee is preferrable to a payment-in-lieu. However, as a developer, if I were faced with making the choice of including a park in my subdivision or paying a fee, I'd rather put in the park, because the sale price of the homes and their long term value would be enhanced, instead of sending this benefit to another part of the City. If you lose a couple of lots from your original design, redesign a block or two with smalller lots and you'd end up ahead.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    Seeing as this one came in without me knowing (I don't yet work in the field), what is the new procedure for parkland?
    it's impact fees, or nothing.

    EDIT: Yes Budgie, in order to implement impact fees here, you must do a Public Facilities Needs Assessment, based on a Level of Service Standard, inventory of existing surpluses and deficiencies, and projection of future surpluses and deficiencies caused by growth. You can only levee a fee for the deficiency caused by growth.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian CDT's avatar
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    City of Lincoln Nebraska allows that but the Parks Dept gets to pick; either the land or the money. The developer doesn't get to choose. The parks dept gets to pick the land they want too.

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