Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Pocket parks

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    15

    Pocket parks

    what is the options for creating pocket parks throughout residential neighborhoods that are owned by individuals but used by the whole community...

    is it feasible, possibly, and legal?


  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    10,090
    Possible, yes. Feasible, most likely no. The liability alone would probably kill such a project, but I would argue that most people wouldn't give up the value of the land for a park without some compensation. Maybe some kind altruistic owner might... but I doubt they would cover the liability as well.

    Most parks are owned by jurisdictions for those two reasons. Those and maintenance.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Encinitas, CA
    Posts
    705
    What Hink said. Which is why they're always owned by either HOAs, the jurisdiction, or special districts.

    There may be opportunity for them leasing the land for such purposes, though, which could shift the liability to the leasee instead of the land owner.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Sep 2011
    Location
    newark nj
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally posted by mmoore5458 View post
    what is the options for creating pocket parks throughout residential neighborhoods that are owned by individuals but used by the whole community...

    is it feasible, possibly, and legal?

    Well, why are you taking such an angle?

    What size "parks" are we talking about?

    Maybe have owners of the blocks within X-blocks radius split the costs of everything, and then perhaps the municipality pays some portion of insurance and maintenance? Maybe have local schools require some volunteer time cleaning up these parks? Save on maintenance? Could you have a sign saying that anyone who enters, enters of their own volition and cannot hold the municipality or whoever owns the property responsible for things that happen within the boundaries of the "park". I don't know what the legality is for something that. Perhaps its something that can be dealt with locally?

    Just some thoughts.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,471
    Quote Originally posted by mmoore5458 View post
    what is the options for creating pocket parks throughout residential neighborhoods that are owned by individuals but used by the whole community...

    is it feasible, possibly, and legal?

    In addition to agreeing with what Hink said:

    My input is: it depends.

    o If it is a built-out neighborhood, probably not without title transfer/lease agreement to some legal entity, lawyers, new ownership agreements, etc. IOW: brain damage.
    o If it is a new neighborhood and platted but title not transferred, maybe a little more likely if the developer hasn't completely platted, obtained paper, carrying loans, etc. IOW: headache.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,963
    I have had owners offer to give lots in older platted areas for "recreation".. They were always unbuildable due to slopes or drainage, and they were never suitable for any form of recreation. The owners were seeking a tax write-off and finding someone to cut the weeds.
    To answer the OP, perhaps community gardens could work, but single lots may not be large enough. Liability and maintenance are the issues.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    225
    Often there are “public” parks on private lands when there is some commercial benefit being gained – for example, at outdoor malls or entrance plazas for significant buildings. In these cases the maintenance and insurance costs are offset by the economic gain created by attracting more customers. Within a residential neighbourhood there would not typically be an opportunity for economic gain so why would anybody pay for maintenance and insurance?

    If it’s a question of keeping things out of the capital budget could the municipality lease the land and pay for maintenance and insurance out of its operating budget?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Marlborough, MA
    Posts
    1
    Yes, generally public parks on private land are on commercial or mixed-use parcels but I don't think it has to be exclusively that way. Often, these parks are developed as part of an open space requirement or extraction but land owners can provide them voluntarily so I don't see why it would have to be limited to large land owners, parcels or developments. I think it'd be very interesting to develop a model to encourage privately-owned pocket parks in residential areas.

    Most states have a Recreational Immunity Statute which limits liability for property owners who open their property free of charge to the public. Of course, these statues are limited, but in general, the owner has to have acted in a willful, wanton or reckless manner to not be protected. If the land owner charges an entrance fee, a different statute applies. MA's Recreational Immunity Statute is chapter 21 section 17c.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    15
    The situation is that we are working within a neighborhood of Cincinnati. We started with a SWOT analysis and then formed projects from what we discovered and what the community members discussed and an open meeting. One thing we heard from many mothers was that there was no place for a family to sit and eat ice cream or enjoy the area. We were also going to incorporate this with a bike path going through the community.

    My question was simply because there was some really nice pieces of land, in this already established community, vacant and perfect for a neighborhood park. Just a small park with maybe a fountain and benches or nice landscaping and benches. Just a place for someone to go and enjoy their neighborhood, and hopefully not attract crime

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,872
    Yes, it is possible to make such an arrangement, but all parties shoudl think through all the implications before enteringinto such an agreement. For example, I work on a land trust and we have a number of public spaces. We are a private non-profit and we also maintain these spaces, but they do have a public access easement over them and anyone is free to use these amenities. There are liability issues and coverage that would be required by the municipality, but it is doable. But the most important aspect to emphasize in my mind is maintenance of the space. Who will pay for and arrange for this work? Where will the funds come from?

    A very clear contract will be necessary, including rights for selling the land if the owner desires.

    I was recently in Moab and they had a section of land contiguous with a city park with trails and creekside access. There were signs stating that this was private land but open to the public. They just asked that people stick to the trails. So, another example. I suspect it was an individual owner, not an organization as with our example. I expect the owner was not interested in selling, or the municipality could not afford to do so, and os they struck this access-type agreement to enhance their existing park and trail network.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    Sep 2011
    Location
    newark nj
    Posts
    184
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Yes, it is possible to make such an arrangement, but all parties shoudl think through all the implications before enteringinto such an agreement. For example, I work on a land trust and we have a number of public spaces. We are a private non-profit and we also maintain these spaces, but they do have a public access easement over them and anyone is free to use these amenities. There are liability issues and coverage that would be required by the municipality, but it is doable. But the most important aspect to emphasize in my mind is maintenance of the space. Who will pay for and arrange for this work? Where will the funds come from?

    A very clear contract will be necessary, including rights for selling the land if the owner desires.

    I was recently in Moab and they had a section of land contiguous with a city park with trails and creekside access. There were signs stating that this was private land but open to the public. They just asked that people stick to the trails. So, another example. I suspect it was an individual owner, not an organization as with our example. I expect the owner was not interested in selling, or the municipality could not afford to do so, and os they struck this access-type agreement to enhance their existing park and trail network.
    Why can't this be done through local school students as part of a community service requirement, or environmental field trips? I did a bunch of similar ones in my elementary school days.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,872
    Quote Originally posted by ddomin4360 View post
    Why can't this be done through local school students as part of a community service requirement, or environmental field trips? I did a bunch of similar ones in my elementary school days.
    Absolutely that could work. My point is just that one needs to build this into the design from the beginning. I would say, though, that even with a school, teachers come and go as do administrators and it would be easy for something like this, which may have been the personal passion of one person, to fall by the wayside if they left the school. The thing you don't want is for the space to become neglected and start negatively contributing to the neighborhood. At the risk of invoking planner speak, someone has to "own" a project like this to make sure the maintenance is planned for and executed (keeping touch with the school each semester to make sure they are still planning to do it, for example).
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Southeast US
    Posts
    530
    I came across a small town that had a square with courthouse, but the businesses surrounding the square were struggling. One business had apparently burned down, but the space (about 30 feet wide) had been cleared of rubble between brick walls of the adjacent stores, and a "pocket park" (with a couple of young trees with some landscaping, pavers, and benches) had been established there apparently by one of the adjacent businesses. It was very pleasant and inviting, and workers in nearby businesses would take breaks and lunches there. It certainly enhanced the space adjacent to the businesses on each side.

    It was a great example of a "Pocket Park." Wish I had taken a picture.

  14. #14
    Zucotti Park in New York City is a privately owned park with a public easement. Perhaps you could look at the legal mechanism for this.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 3
    Last post: 04 Mar 2013, 7:57 PM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last post: 05 Feb 2011, 2:42 PM
  3. Pocket parks
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 18
    Last post: 08 Apr 2007, 9:19 AM
  4. Pocket zoning?
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 01 Dec 2004, 5:21 PM
  5. What's in my pocket?
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 14
    Last post: 07 Jul 2002, 11:36 PM