Village News Reporter
The Fallbrook Community Planning Group approved a priority list for Park Land Dedication Ordinance funding.
The planning group’s 14-0 vote Monday, Nov. 20, with Tom Harrington absent, approved a prioritized list of recommendations which will be provided to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
“Looking forward to having some of them implemented,” planning group chair Eileen Delaney said.
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.
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.
A mixed-use decomposed granite trail or pathway along Stage Coach Lane from Reche Road to South Mission Road is the top priority. The second-highest priority is also a trail or pathway which would be along Gird Road between Reche Road and state Route 76. 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.
“We continue to hear from many in our community about the need for trails, walkability and connectivity,” Stephani Baxter, who chairs the planning group's Parks and Recreation Public Facilities Committee, said.
A recreational water facility such as a splash pad is the next-highest item on the priority list.
“Requests from many young families over the last couple of years have been for a splash pad,” Baxter said.
Acquisition of new park land is immediately below the splash pad on the priority list followed by more sports fields, sports courts and active recreation for multi-generational uses especially in the Downtown area. The final item on the priority list is continued support for existing parks and the Fallbrook Community Center.
Baxter said that community members provided e-mail messages, letters and phone calls indicating their desires.
“I was really happy with the community involvement,” she said. “It’s just a really wonderful process to be involved with.”
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].