Village News Reporter
The Fallbrook Community Planning Group approved a priority list for Park Land Dedication Ordinance funding.
The planning group’s 13-0 vote Nov. 21, with Tom Harrington and Jim Loge absent, approved a prioritized list of recommendations which will be provided to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. The planning group’s Parks and Recreation Public Facilities Committee did not have a quorum either in October or in November but had an unofficial agreement on the priorities at the committee’s November meeting.
Park Land Development Ordinance fees are collected from developers to fund park improvements in the area of the development. In 1965, the State of California adopted the Quimby Act which authorizes local governments to assess impact fees on new residential development to provide funding for park and recreation facilities to serve the new development.
The Quimby Act allows fees sufficient to provide three acres of park land per 1,000 residents, although a local government may adopt a higher standard of five acres per 1,000 residents. The county has been collecting PLDO fees from developers since 1973. Developers have the option to dedicate parks instead of paying PLDO fees, and a combination of park dedication and PLDO fees is also potentially acceptable. PLDO funding must be spent in the area of the development for which the money is collected.
“It’s primarily used for active recreation,” said Stephani Baxter, who chairs the planning group's Parks and Recreation Public Facilities Committee.
Initially the fees could only be used for active recreation parks. In 2018, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved revisions to the Park Land Dedication Ordinance, and one of the revisions allows up to 25% of a fiscal year's PLDO revenue to be used for the acquisition of land for trails or to develop new trails.
PLDO funding still cannot be used for open space. The fees can be used for acquisition of land but not for maintenance or operation, and they can be used for replacement of playground equipment but not for the restoration of historic structures.
“It’s very specific how the funds can be allocated,” Baxter said.
A trail or pathway along Stage Coach Lane from Reche Road to South Mission Road is the top priority. Pathways are within the right‑of-way of a road, and PLDO funding cannot be used for pathways. Trails are outside of the right-of-way.
Some of the Stage Coach Lane trail or pathway may be a pathway ineligible for PLDO funding. The planning group acknowledged that possibility but still designated the trail or pathway as the highest priority. “We wanted to continue to have the Stage Coach trail and pathway on the list so the county does know the importance of it,” said planning group chair Eileen Delaney.
The second-highest priority is also a trail or pathway which would be along Gird Road between Reche Road and State Route 76. “This will be a connection someday to the San Luis Rey River Park,” Baxter said.
Skate park improvements were next on the priority list followed by sports courts and fields. The final item on the priority list is a recreational water facility such as a splash pad. The recreational water facility has not previously been on the planning group’s PLDO priority list.
“It will be a good addition to the priority list,” Baxter said. “I think there’s nothing more fun than playing in the water on a hot day.”