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									                              RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE


GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND POLICIES

GOAL:
Marion County will develop a recreation and open space system to ensure adequate
opportunity for public access to, and use of, activity and resource-based recreation sites.


OBJECTIVE 1.0: Marion County shall continue to maximize recreation opportunities through
new and established partnerships.

Policy 1.1: Marion County shall develop and pursue intergovernmental and not-for-profit
agency partnerships that maximize public recreational opportunities to further develop existing
facilities and to assist in acquisition and development of sites to meet recreation needs.

Policy 1.2: Marion County shall seek to establish agreements with State and Regional agencies
to utilize lands these agencies control within Marion County that allow for recreational use of the
lands. Any recreational use of these lands shall be consistent with the management objectives of
these agencies for these lands.

Policy 1.3: Marion County shall continue funding partnership acquisition, including the pursuit
of grant funds, through the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council (PRAC) in accordance with
the Parks and Environmental Land Acquisition Plan to assist in the acquisition and development
of sites to meet recreation and open space needs.

Policy 1.4: Marion County shall continue to fund the construction of recreation facilities and
recreation programs through the Parks and Recreation Department.

Policy 1.6: Marion County will establish user fees to help defray the operation and maintenance
costs of parks and recreational programs.


OBJECTIVE 2.0: Marion County shall plan park acquisition, facilities development, and
recreation programs on a quadrant by quadrant basis using public participation, policy input, and
a sound financial plan for acquisition, development, and operations.

Policy 2.1: The following suggested guidelines are to be utilized as the basis for preparing the
master plans for future park development:

       a.      Neighborhood Park: The neighborhood park is generally located along streets
               where people can walk or bicycle without encountering heavy traffic. It serves the
               population of a neighborhood in a radius of up to one-half mile. Its size usually
               ranges form 5 to 10 acres and it serves a population of up to 5,000.

               Site design should reflect the character of the neighborhood and incorporate
               compatible elements of both passive and active types of recreation. Typical
               facilities developed in the neighborhood park may include play apparatus,

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               recreation buildings, multipurpose courts, sports fields, picnic areas, and free play
               areas. Additional facilities may be added, depending on the recreation demands of
               the neighborhood.

       b.      Community Park: A community park is located near major streets or arterials. It
               is designed to serve the needs of 4 to 6 neighborhoods - which may be said to
               constitute a community - and serves community residents within a radius of up to
               3 miles, or a service population of up to 25,000. A minimum of 20 acres for each
               community park is recommended. The community park offers a wide range of
               program and facility opportunities for all individuals and families. Just as the
               neighborhood park fulfills the recreation needs of the neighborhood, the
               community park is designed to meet the recreation needs of the entire community.

               Typical facilities at a community park may include swimming pools, ball fields,
               tennis courts, play areas, multipurpose courts, recreation buildings and sports
               fields. Additional recreation facilities may be included to meet a particular
               recreation demand in the community. Adequate off-street parking may be needed
               to contain parking overflow from the parking areas. Two important elements of
               every community park are the use of landscaping and the provision of passive
               recreation activity areas.

       c.      District Park: An urban-district park is designed to serve the recreation needs of
               several communities, a city, or a county, and usually provides some areas and
               facilities that are resource-based. Typical areas and facilities include natural area,
               campgrounds, and play apparatus. Additional facilities may include a zoo, a golf
               course, or a botanical garden.

               Driving periods of up to 30 to 40 minutes may be required to reach an urban-
               district park, which should, when possible, be located on the periphery of a large
               urban area. Each such park should be utilized by an average population of 50,000,
               with a desirable space allowance of 5 acres per 1,000 people. While 100 acres
               may meet minimum requirements, a size range of 200 acres or more is desirable.

       d.      Regional Park: Regional parks are large, resource-based areas that serve two or
               more communities or counties and are usually located within an hour’s driving
               distance of the residents they serve. A space allowance of 20 acres per 1,000
               population is suggested. The park should serve a population of over 100,000 and
               should range in size from a minimum of 250 acres to as much as several thousand
               acres. Because regional parks are generally designed for resource-based activities,
               location is dependent upon the availability of high quality natural resources
               capable of being developed and used for outdoor recreation.

               Typical facilities provided at a regional park include water-based recreation sites,
               camping areas, hiking and nature trails, picnic areas, and other facilities not
               requiring intensive development. Parking areas are necessary to support facilities
               and should be designed to minimize adverse effects on the natural environment.

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               The most prominent feature of a regional park is that it provides recreation
               opportunities that, through the design and development of outdoor recreation
               resources and facilities, capitalize on the natural environment and promote an
               atmosphere of beauty and serenity.

       e.      Greenways: Greenways are linear parks that provide linkages for recreation,
               open space and are also wildlife corridors. Greenways link by trails attractors
               such as parks, schools, shopping, places of worship, work places, historical and
               cultural sites. Greenways also link ecologically significant areas to permit the
               cross migration of species and to maintain high levels of biodiversity. Greenways
               also provide community open space in developments. Greenways have no
               particular size standard. Small greenways may serve an individual community
               (but should provide possible links to neighboring communities) or may have a
               regional, state or national service area such as the Cross Florida Greenway/Ocala
               National Forest/Wekiva corridor. Recognized greenways in Marion County
               include the Cross Florida Greenway, the Ocklawaha corridor, the Ocala/Wekiva
               corridor and the Northwest Marion Lake Trust Greenway.

               Typical facilities for greenways include trailheads, trails, habitat restoration and
               like amenities. On large scale greenways such as the Cross Florida Greenway
               camping, trailheads and facilities for special events should be considered.

       f.      Water Access Parks: Water access parks, also known as boat ramp parks, are
               parks that provide boat access to public waterways. Boat ramp parks are small in
               size with enough space for boat access, parking, and sometimes, picnic and
               restroom facilities.

Acreage designations shall generally be used as the basis for determining site needs and for
determining the capacity of proposed sites and assessing the impact of new development on
existing or proposed sites. Size guidelines shall generally be used as the basis for selecting sites
for acquisition and development or approving sites to be provided by a developer. Facility
guidelines are indicators of representative types of facilities and activities which may be
provided in each type of park and do not indicate that all such facilities will be provided at any
given site or sites. Facility selection for any site will be based on factors related to site
suitability, system needs, and where practical, user preferences.

Marion County shall provide a balance of new park types and recommended facilities as
identified through land acquisition and development programs.

Policy 2.2: The master plans for each quadrant shall include, but not be limited to, the following
items for analysis:

       a.      Current needs for recreation sites based on estimated recreation demand and the
               availability to the public and adequacy of existing recreation sites and facilities.
               The needs assessment of the Marion County Recreation Master Plan shall be
               updated every 5 years;

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                              RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE

       b.      Projected future needs for recreation sites, open space, and recreation facilities
               based on recreation demand and availability to the public;
       c.      Future recreational uses depicted within generalized service area boundaries in the
               future land use map series;
       d.      An annual capital improvement program and budget for five years of proposed
               acquisition and development shall be developed, including anticipated operational
               impacts for the first year.

Policy 2.3: Natural Reservation areas, owned by state or federal entities, shall be designated on
the Future Land Use Map. The Parks and Recreation Planning Map shall designate existing
public and private partnership recreation facilities and Natural Reservation/Conservation Areas.

Policy 2.4: The level of service standard for public and privately-owned outdoor recreation
facilities shall be 2 acres per 1,000 people.

Policy 2.5: Marion County shall utilize the Parks and Recreation Planning Map and identified
public land locations to locate existing public lands appropriate for the desired recreation
facilities first before purchasing additional new land in each quadrant. If existing public lands are
deemed inappropriate for desired recreation facilities, Marion County shall utilize the Parks and

Recreation Planning Map and the Future Land Use Map to identify new properties for desired
recreation facilities.

       a.      The Marion County Parks and Recreation Department and the Parks and the Parks
               and Recreation Advisory Council shall assist the Board of County Commissioners
               in identifying County-owned properties that can meet the minimum standards for
               parks.

       b.      The Marion County Parks and Recreation Department shall assist non-profit
               participants in identifying potential County properties that may be appropriate for
               community partnership parks.

       c.      Marion County shall evaluate other public and private agencies’ land acquisition
               programs and activities and the potential for County involvement in those
               programs.

       d.      Marion County shall participate in planning acquisitions with other public and
               private agencies to meet present and future recreation and open space needs and
               participate in such acquisitions based upon the funding resources available.

       e.      The Marion County Parks and Recreation Department and PRAC shall identify
               potential sites within delineated service areas in each quadrant, including an initial
               ranking based on environmental characteristics, located within the service area,
               accessibility, and potential for meeting existing or future needs for the area.




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                              RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE

       f.      Identified future acquisitions shall be placed in the Parks and Environmental Land
               Acquisition Plan upon recommendation by the Parks and Recreation Advisory
               Council and upon approval by the Marion County Board of County
               Commissioners.

       g.      Marion County, through the Parks and Recreation Department, shall develop
               children’s playgrounds in areas where a local partner will perform day to day
               maintenance on playground facilities.

       h.      Marion County shall provide access to public water bodies where feasible through
               land acquisition and development of fishing and boating facilities.

       i.      Marion County shall encourage the provision of facilities for outdoor recreation,
               including but not limited to, the types listed in Policy 2.1 and the Marion County
               Recreation Masterplan. Facilities planned and developed will be designed to
               minimize the impact to the natural resources of the property.

       j.      Marion County shall encourage the creation of greenways to connect to
               environmentally sensitive areas, to develop greenbelts on the edges of the urban
               areas of the County, to provide wildlife corridors, and to provide recreational
               opportunities for the citizens of the .

Policy 2.6: Marion County shall seek to acquire lands for recreation activities in order to
address level of service deficiencies as identified in the Marion County Recreation Masterplan,
as amended.


OBJECTIVE 3.0: Marion County will utilize existing funding sources and develop new
funding sources to provide for recreation and open space needs in a manner which ensures that
new development provides, based upon level of service standards, recreation sites such as
neighborhood and community parks or, where determined to be appropriate by Marion County,
improvements to existing recreation sites that serve the residents of that new development.

Policy 3.1: Developments of certain sizes and densities shall be required to provide parks and
permanent open space within their developments.

       a.      In rural areas, clustered development including Hamlets, Rural Village Districts
               and Rural Towns, shall be required to provide open space which may include
               parks. Permanent open space and park land will be required as follows:

               1.      Hamlets: 60% of the gross land area is required to remain in permanent
                       open space.

               2.      Rural Village Districts: 60% of the gross land area is required to remain in
                       permanent open space. A minimum of 5% of the developable land area
                       (40% area) is to be used for public purposes, such as parks, squares, etc.

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                              RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE

                       This area is credited to the permanent open space area (60% area).

                       1.         Rural Towns: Developments in this land use designation are
                                  required to be DRIs or FQDs. The open space requirements are as
                                  follows:

                                  (a)    Developments of Regional Impact: The permanent open
                                         space requirement is a minimum of 65% of gross land area.
                                  (b)    Florida Quality Development: The permanent open space
                                         requirement is a minimum of 55% of gross land area.

       b.      Urban Neighborhood District development shall be required to provide permanent
               open space which will include parks and squares. This permanent open space
               area shall be a minimum of 5% of the gross land area.

Policy 3.2: Marion County's land development regulations shall contain provisions requiring, as
a condition of approval of residential development, development exactions from developments of
certain sizes and densities in the form of on-site development and dedication to the County of
land and facilities for neighborhood and community parks or, where on-site provision is
impractical, payment of a fee-in-lieu for off-site acquisition and development consistent with the
master plan for the area. The land development regulations shall also provide for exaction of
fees for off-site provision of urban district parks.

As alternative, private on-site recreational sites and facilities may be established for residential
developments in an effort to meet the recreational needs of the residential development project.
For developments providing private on-site recreational areas and facilities, data and analysis
identifying the type and extent of residential recreational needs not satisfied by the private on-
site recreation areas and facilities shall be submitted for review and approval by the County.
Following review and approval by the County, the data and analysis shall be utilized as the basis
for establishing the level and extent to which recreational areas and facilities must be provided
for the residential development.

When a proposed development includes the provision of a public access park, these parks shall
be approved pursuant to the following criteria:

a.             The park shall be dedicated to the County and developed by the developer;\
b.             The park shall meet the level of service standard for the population within that
               development for community parks;
c.             The County shall have a management agreement with the developer that transfers
               the park to a Municipal Services Taxing Unit or a Property/Homeowners
               Association;
d.             The developer shall demonstrate that he will, where feasible, connect the
               community park to an existing or proposed bikeway or trail, as identified in the
               Ocala-Marion County Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan, as amended.




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                              RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE

Policy 3.3: Marion County will utilize the information and data generated from the Marion
County Recreation Masterplan, as amended, to identify deficiencies in parks and recreation
facilities and correct such deficiencies through acquisition under the Parks and Environmentally
Sensitive Lands Acquisition Program or other funding programs, development exactions, on-site
dedication, fee-in-lieu payment, or other appropriate methods.


OBJECTIVE 4.0: Marion County will provide reasonable public access to all of the recreation
sites and facilities provided by Marion County.

Policy 4.1: Marion County will make the necessary provisions in location, design, and
development of recreation sites and facilities to ensure reasonable public access.


OBJECTIVE 5.0: Marion County shall participate in the acquisition of outparcels,
development and operation of the Cross Florida Greenway and take a leadership role in the
planning of the resource.

Policy 5.1: Marion County shall partner in the development of trailheads and other recreational
access to the Cross Florida Greenway.

Policy 5.2: Marion County shall explore the possibilities of developing a management
partnership with other public agencies to coordinate the maintenance and manage the utilization
of the Cross Florida Greenway.


OBJECTIVE 6.0: Marion County recognizes the economic impact of recreation activities for
both residents and visitors. Marion County shall continue to develop economic opportunities for
recreation services.

Policy 6.1: Marion County shall collaborate with the public and private sectors in developing
eco-tourism opportunities using the public lands within the County and shall market those
opportunities.

Policy 6.2: Marion County shall provide the necessary land development regulations to assist
commercial interest in providing private conservation and recreation opportunities.

Policy 6.3: The Future Land Use Map Series shall allow for Commercial Recreation uses (as
defined in the Future Land Use Element Policy 1.24) in areas of tourism and eco-tourism
attractions.




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