Good News about Playhouse Park
A new park behind Vroman’s Bookstore gets the green light from City Council.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Here is the info we’e previously posted and continue to work on:
PARKS AND RESIDENTIAL IMPACT FEES
Residential Impact Fees (RIFs) are assessed for the specific purpose of satisfying the additional demands on parks that new residents create.
New residents = additional impacts on parks.
READ OUR FULL LETTER TO CITY COUNCIL.
Click to access rif-nexus-ordinance-oct-2015.pdf
As it stands, the city is divided into 3 “park districts”, pictured below. Park fees have to be spent in the district in which they are collected. This 3-district division does nothing to insure that the fees are spent close to the apartments & condos building from which they are collected. In addition, the 3 districts are a clunky, arbitrary division that has resulted in lots of funds in the West District (because of the Westgate project, etc), and fewer funds in the Central and East District.
How much did you pay in Park Fees?
How much is built into your rent?
Look it up!
*Projects built before about 2005 were not assessed a fee. Fees are paid upfront by developers when they pull a building permit and trickle down to unit owners and renters indirectly. The actual economic consequences to unit owners and renters is complex and is dependent on how developers respond to increased costs (which effects the supply of housing and therefore the overall price of housing), whether or not fees are actually used to improve parks nearby, and how the market responds to such park improvements, among other factors.
The majority of Park Fees are collected from new apartment & condo buildings that are built in Downtown—the Central District.
There is a large “gap” in Downtown with no park.
There are about 20,000 residents in Downtown Pasadena.
1/7 of the city’s population.
The majority of Downtown residents (12,000 – 16,000 residents estimated) live more than 1/4-mile from a park, and many of those (probably 8,000-12,000) live more than a 1/2 mile from the closest park.
So… where have new parks been built from the $19 Million raised in Park Fees?
ANSWER: Not in Downtown Pasadena.
In fact, the city is proposing to reduce or eliminate the Civic Gardens in front of City Hall, by building the YWCA-Kimpton Hotel project, further reducing park space in Downtown.
However, some of the funds were spent to improve existing parks, including a new playground in Central Park.
MESSAGE TO COUNCIL:
The DPNA believes that the Residential Impact Fees need to be spent close to where they are raised.
Downtown Pasadena has a shortage of parks.
- The “nexus” between new buildings and new residents and the fees that are charged to them needs to be at least partially based on proximity. At least some of the money needs to be spent on parks that are within walking distance of the people that are paying the fees.
- The current 3-District scheme does not serve as an equitable nexus and needs to be completely abandoned, not reformed. (The proposal on the table simply layers on some additional “flexibility” onto the 3-district scheme, but does not solve the inequitable lack of a Walkable Proximity Nexus.)
- Thanks to your action last year, at our urging, fees can now be spent on small plazas, pocket parks, and other amenities where land acquisition costs are high. Please reject the ordinance and direct staff to find locations and develop an implementation schedule to build small walkable parks near to the projects that were assessed the fees. Look to the General Plan to place parks where future development is expected to occur.