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To:        Gary Klaphake, City Administrator
From:      Phillip Patterson, Director of Planning & Building
Date:      January 13, 2009
Subject:   Council Goal C.5 – Provide separate public land dedication requirement specifically
           for trails.
The purpose of this memo is to address Goal C.5 of the Council’s 2008-2009 Goals. The
analysis and measurement sections of this goal state the following:

        Analysis: Review requirements from other municipalities regarding public land
        dedication (parks and open space). Review and analyze public land dedications
        of recent developments within Lafayette. Identify deficiencies.

        Measurement: Present analysis for discussion at a Council workshop. Draft
        code amendments for consideration by Planning Commission/City Council based
        on direction presented to staff at the Council workshop.

Staff reviewed the public land dedication requirements for of a number of local municipalities
and found no requirement specifically for trails. In Lafayette trails are typically required as part
of a development based on the recommendations found in the 2005 Open Space and Trails
Master Plan (OS&TMP). Such trails are usually incorporated within the publicly dedicated
lands. Examples of this include the trail north of the Wal-Mart Supercenter; trail/sidewalk
connections within the Silver Creek subdivision; and the eastern trail corridor within the SoLa
subdivision. In some instances the public trails are located within pedestrian easements on land
not dedicated as part of the public land dedication process. Examples of this included the
southern trail within the Indian Peaks #17 subdivision; and the western trail/sidewalk connection
within the SoLa subdivision. Public trails are sometimes required as part of a development even
though the trail is not included as a recommendation of the OS&TMP. Examples of this would
include the western trail in the Indian Peaks #17 subdivision, and the northern and southern trails
of the SoLa subdivision. These trails are not located within publicly dedication land, but are
located within public easements on privately owned, or homeowner association (HOA) owned,

It is staff’s opinion that trails recommended by the OS&TMP have been obtained as part of the
development plan review process, when such trails are geographically related to a proposed
development. It is also staff’s opinion that trails not identified on the OS&TMP have been
obtained when a need for the trail has been identified during the development review process.
Staff is not aware of any instance where a trail was identified on the OS&TMP, or where a need
was identified during a development review, and such trail was not obtained as part of the review

            1290 S. Public Rd.   Lafayette, Colorado 80026   (303) 665-5588 Fax (303) 665-2153
process. For this reason it is staff’s opinion that a separate public land dedication specifically for
trails is not necessary.

Exhibit A identifies the public land dedication requirements of various municipalities
surrounding Lafayette. Most of these municipalities require the dedication based on either a
percentage of the subdivision or, for residential developments, a certain number of acres per
1,000 residents generated by the development. The municipalities that based their public land
dedication requirements on the number of residents typically don’t require a dedication from
non-residential developments. The percentage of public land dedication ranges from 12-15% and
the number of acres per 1,000 residents ranges from 12-24 acres. Staff doesn’t believe that there
is any right or wrong way to calculate the public land dedication; however, the requirement
should be based on some reasonable level of service. Exhibit B provides a summary of various
Lafayette developments, both residential and non-residential and includes the actual acres of
public land dedication, and for comparison purposes the estimated amount of acres based on 15%
of the area and on 12 acres per 1,000 residents. Please note that while the 15% requirement
would generate more public land dedication from residential developments the 12 acres per 1,000
residents does not necessary increased the amount of land dedicated. This is due to the various
densities of a development.

Since residential densities in Lafayette range from a low of less than 3 dwelling units per acre to
a high of 18 units per acre, it might be appropriate to consider a public land dedication based on a
specific number of acres per 1,000 residents rather than one based on a simple percentage of the
development. The current ratio of public park acres in Lafayette per 1,000 residents is 11.6
acres. This ratio is based on 298 acres of public parks and an estimated 2007/2008 population of
24,841. (Note: this ratio doesn’t take into account private recreational facilities that may have
been provided a public land dedication credit in the past.) A requirement for 12 acres of public
land dedication per 1,000 residents would meet the existing level of service for public parks.

One major concern/deficiency identified by staff during this review is the issue of public versus
private maintenance of publicly dedicated land. In many developments, including Wanaka
Landing, Blue Heron South, Forest Park, Coal Creek Village, Silver Creek and SoLa/Prana
publicly dedicated lands have been required, at the time of development review/approval, to be
maintained by the private property owner. In most, if not all, of these cases the private
maintenance of publicly-owned land ultimately becomes the responsibility of an owners
association. This practice has merit since it prevents increased property maintenance
responsibilities for the Parks, Open Space and Golf Department; however, this practice hasn’t
always worked due to the potential to create conflicts between the City and an owners association
(Blue Heron South). Overall, staff is concerned that it may become increasingly difficult to
justify the private maintenance of public lands that are available for use by the public but
maintained by only a select group of private property owners. Staff also believes that this
practice has potential liability issues when such lands are maintained by private entities but used
by the public for everyday activities or activities associated with City sponsored programs. For
this reason staff believes that Council should consider a new paradigm with respect to the
requirements for public land dedication.
Currently, the Code requires the public dedication of land for parks and recreational use, and
allows for only two (2) other options: 1) the payment of a cash in-lieu fee; and 2) a maximum
50% credit for private recreational facilities that are deemed to absorb a major portion of the
recreational demands of the residents/employees of a proposed development. Due to the
concerns expressed above staff believes that a third option should be considered. This option
could require that the land designated for public land dedication be owned and maintained by the
development for purposes of common open areas within the development, when it is determined
that there is no over-riding public benefit for the public’s use of the land. This option would not
prohibit the City from obtaining easements for public trails if a trail or need for a trail was
identified on the OS&TMP or during the plan review. Staff believes that this may be a viable
option to create local privately owned and maintained pocket parks/tot lots that provide a benefit
to the development rather than to the community as a whole.

Should Council agree with staff regarding this option and direct staff to draft a code amendment
for review then staff would need to work with the city attorney’s office with respect to finding an
appropriate way to include this option under the heading of “land dedication requirements” in
sections 26-19-19 through 26-19-22.1 of the Code. Staff believes that such an amendment is
possible if the choice for using this option is strictly the City’s and any such land proposed for
use with this option meets the requirements for providing parks and recreational use.

      Exhibit A – Summary of municipal public land dedication requirements;
      Exhibit B – Summary of public land dedications from recent development
                                                 EXHIBIT A

 (The following information was derived from responses to a request for public land dedication

   • Residential Developments                                                    12% of development
   • Non-Residential Developments                                                 6% of development

   • Residential Developments                                            12 acres per 1,000 residents
   • Non-Residential Developments                                                                N/A

   • Residential Developments
      1. Parks                                                16 acres per 1,000 residents
      2. Open Space                                            8 acres per 1,000 residents
      (25% of all public land dedication is required to be on-site.)
   • Non-Residential Developments                                                     N/A

    •   Residential Developments
        1. Parks                                                         8.5 acres per 1,000 residents
        (The 8.5 acres is allocated as follows: a) Pocket Parks = 0.5 acres per 1,000 residents; b) Neighborhood
        Parks = 3.0 acres per 1,000 residents; c) Community Parks = 5.0 acres per 1,000 residents)
        2. Open Space                                                    17 acres per 1,000 residents
   •    Non-Residential Developments                                                             N/A

   • Residential Developments
     Longmont does not have set percentage requirement for public land dedication for parks
     and open space. If a property includes a public park site as identified on the Longmont
     Area Comprehensive Plan, then the land is reserved on the concept plan when the
     property is annexed. Longmont has a parks improvement fee (currently $4,720) due at
     time of building permit for each residential dwelling unit. The fee goes toward the
     acquisition and development of public park sites.

        Longmont also has common (HOA) open space/pocket park requirements:
        o 10 percent common open space for single family non-PUD subdivisions;
        o 20 percent common open space for single family PUD subdivisions;
        o 30 percent common open space for multi-family developments;
        o 20 percent common open space for non-residential developments (typically a 20
           percent landscape area requirement for each lot).
       Pocket park requirements are a ratio of 1 acre for each 100 single family dwellings units
       and 1 acre for each 200 multi-family dwellings. The pocket park requirement can be
       included in a development' common open space requirement.

   • Residential Developments                                        15% of development
   • Non-Residential Developments                                    12% of development

   • Residential Developments
                                           0.5 acre tot lot park per 100 dwelling units
                        5 acre community or neighborhood park per 300 dwelling units
                                        20 acre regional park per 3000 dwelling units
   •   Non-Residential Developments                                                4%

  • Residential Developments                                  12 acres per 1,000 residents
  • Non-Residential Developments                                                      N/A
                                         EXHIBIT B


Coal Creek Village (Residential)
       Total Area                                        72.0 ac
       Required PLD                                       8.6 ac
       Actual PLD                                        10.6 ac
       Est. No. of Residents                              1,171
       Est. PLD based on 15%                             10.8 ac
       Est. PLD based on 12 acres per 1,000 residents    14.0 ac

Silver Creek (Residential)
        Total Area                                       52.0 ac
        Required PLD                                      6.2 ac
        Actual PLD                                        6.5 ac
        Est. No. of Residents                               707
        Est. PLD based on 15%                             7.8 ac
        Est. PLD based on 12 acres per 1,000 residents    8.5 ac

Mid Town (Residential)
      Total Area                                          7.8 ac
      Required PLD                                        0.9 ac
      Actual PLD                                          0.9 ac
      Est. No. of Residents                                   81
      Est. PLD based on 15%                              1.17 ac
      Est. PLD based on 12 acres per 1,000 residents     0.97 ac

Willow Creek (Residential)
      Total Area                                          2.9 ac
      Required PLD                                        0.3 ac
      Actual PLD (paid cash in-lieu)                        N/A
      Est. No. of Residents                                   29
      Est. PLD based on 15%                              0.43 ac
      Est. PLD based on 12 acres per 1,000 residents     0.35 ac

Eagle Place (Residential)
       Total Area                                         5.0 ac
       Required PLD                                       0.6 ac
       Actual PLD (50% and cash in-lieu)                    N/A
       Est. No. of Residents                                157
       Est. PLD based on 15%                             0.75 ac
       Est. PLD based on 12 acres per 1,000 residents     1.9 ac
Barberry Park (Residential)
       Total Area                                                                 1.9 ac
       Required PLD                                                              0.02 ac
       Actual PLD                                                                0.08 ac
       Est. No. of Residents                                                          31
       Est. PLD based on 15%                                                      0.3 ac
       Est. PLD based on 12 acres per 1,000 residents                             0.4 ac

Lowe’s – Waneka (Non-Residential)
      Total Area                                                                 27.0 ac
      Required PLD upon development                                               1.6 ac
      Actual PLD (required at annexation based on Comp. Plan)                     4.3 ac

Wal*Mart (Non-Residential)
     Total Area (minus 7 ac. with previous PLD)                                  24.0 ac
     Required PLD                                                                 1.4 ac
     Actual PLD (0.9 ac. dedicated and 0.5 ac. remains as future PLD)             1.4 ac

West Ridge (Non-Residential)
      Total Area                                                                 33.5 ac
      Required PLD                                                                2.0 ac
      Actual PLD                                                                  2.1 ac

Summit Marketplace – King Soopes (Non-Residential)
     Total Area (minus 7.5 ac. with previous PLD)                                 2.0 ac
     Required PLD                                                                0.12 ac
     Actual PLD (paid cash in-lieu)                                                 N/A

Eckerd Drug – Vitamin Cottage (Non-Residential)
       Total Area                                                                 2.9 ac
       Required PLD                                                              0.17 ac
       Actual PLD (paid cash in-lieu)                                               N/A

SoLa / Prana (Mixed-Use)
       Total Area                                                                82.0 ac
       Required PLD                                                              7.44 ac
       Actual PLD                                                                3.98 ac
       Est. No. of Residents (Prana)                                                665
       (50% credit allowed with possible 2.25 ac. of additional PLD in future)