Chapter 12.22


12.22.010    Title.

12.22.020    Purpose of open space lands.

12.22.030    Classification of open space lands.

12.22.040    Definitions.

12.22.050    Rules and regulations applicable in city open space lands.

12.22.060    Enforcement.

12.22.070    Compliance with regulations required.

12.22.010 Title.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall be known as the open space ordinance of the city of San Luis Obispo. (Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998)

12.22.020 Purpose of open space lands.

A. The city of San Luis Obispo has developed a system of open space lands within and surrounding the community which is an important part of the community’s setting, providing a number of opportunities for enjoyment of the natural environment by our citizens. Consistent with the open space element of the city’s general plan, open space lands have been acquired (both in fee and through easements) for specific purposes, such as protection of scenic character, wildlife habitat values, passive recreation and agriculture. The open space element principles state that uses on open space lands owned or managed by the city:

1. Should preserve the natural amenities of the open space land;

2. May not include uses which would degrade or significantly impact resource preservation on-site or on an adjacent parcel;

3. May consist of the following uses provided allowed uses are compatible with the purpose of the open space land:

a. Conservation of soil, vegetation, water, fish, and/or wildlife.

b. Passive recreation, including open areas, trails, viewing stations, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, fishing, photography, painting, sketching and other similar day recreation use.

c. Interpretation and scientific study of the natural environment.

d. Grazing, farming, growing of nursery stock, gardening, and harvesting crops.

e. Landscape or wildlife restoration and enhancement programs where the natural landscape has been altered or degraded. Such programs may include restrictions on public access.

B. This chapter has been duly established by the city council of the city of San Luis Obispo in keeping with the principles stated above.

C. Lands acquired or otherwise controlled by the city for open space purposes are not considered to be parks (as “parks” are defined in Chapter 12.20 of the Municipal Code) and shall not be construed to be appropriate for, or used for, structured recreation, such as team sports, large gatherings or other intensive uses of the property or site.

D. These regulations shall apply to lands owned in fee or otherwise controlled by the city of San Luis Obispo, both within and outside of the city limits. (Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998)

12.22.030 Classification of open space lands.

The city council shall have the authority to classify open space lands as (1) open space or (2) ecological area. “Open space” shall be utilized primarily for scenic and wildlife habitat purposes and for passive recreation. “Ecological areas” shall be primarily utilized for their wildlife habitat or other ecological values and may be subject to restrictions upon, or prohibition of, public access. One or more contiguous open space lands may also be combined as a natural reserve, reflecting differing types of acquisition that may be involved in assembling such contiguous parcels. (Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998)

12.22.040 Definitions.

The following terms are defined as follows for purposes of this chapter:

A. “Amplified sound” means music, sound wave, vibration or speech projected or transmitted by electronic equipment, including amplifiers.

B. “Director” means the director of parks and recreation or other person authorized by him or her, pursuant to law, to act in his or her stead.

C. “Climbing area” means an area within a city open space land suitable for, and designated for, climbing with the use of ropes, climbing bolts, and other specialized equipment.

D. “Open space lands” means any lands owned by the city designated as either “open space” or “ecological area,” including accessories thereto maintained and operated by the city of San Luis Obispo.

E. “Permit” means written authorization for specific uses of open space lands, or portions thereof, as provided for and defined in this chapter.

F. “Vehicle” means any device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved or drawn, excepting a device moved by human power.

G. “Trail” means an improved passage for persons, animals, or vehicles, maintained in a manner to be reasonably safe for such passage for such persons, animals or vehicles, as may be appropriate.

H. “Natural reserve” means an area of one or more open space lands, which may be managed as a unit by the city or in conjunction with other agencies. (Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998; prior code § 4226.1)

12.22.050 Rules and regulations applicable in city open space lands.

The following rules and regulations apply in all open space lands within or under the control of the city of San Luis Obispo, unless expressly stated otherwise elsewhere in this chapter.

A. Resources Protected. All natural and cultural resources (including, but not limited to, all naturally occurring plants and animals, prehistoric and historic artifacts, structures, and remains of structures) within city open space lands are protected, and no person shall collect, gather, or otherwise disturb any natural or cultural resources found therein, except for pruning or removal of materials in conjunction with city-sponsored activities, such as trail construction or maintenance or for collection of specimens for research or educational purposes as permitted in advance by the city.

B. Presence in Open Space Lands Restricted to Certain Hours—No Overnight Usage. Open space lands where public access is permitted shall be open to the public from dawn to dusk. It shall be unlawful to enter or remain within such lands between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise of the following day without approval from the director.

C. Authority to Close. Any section or part of the city’s open space lands may be declared closed to the public by the director at any time and for any interval of time, either temporarily or at regular and stated intervals (daily or otherwise), and either entirely or merely to certain uses, as the director finds reasonably necessary.

D. Operation of Vehicles and Bicycles.

1. No person shall drive or otherwise operate a vehicle on city open space lands or upon surfaces other than those maintained for purposes of vehicular travel, except upon temporary parking areas as may be designated from time to time by the director. Vehicles in the service of the city while upon their official duties are exempt. The provisions of the California Vehicle Code are applicable in the city open space lands which is publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. All violations of the Vehicle Code shall be enforced and prosecuted in accordance with the provisions thereof.

2. Use of bicycles on city open space lands is restricted to areas and trails designated for bicycle use.

E. Solicitation Prohibited. No person shall practice, carry on, conduct, or solicit for any occupation, business, or profession in any city open space land, or sell or offer for sale any merchandise, article, or anything whatsoever. This subsection shall not apply to any person acting pursuant to a contract with the city or under an authorization granted by the director.

F. Restrictions Upon Animals in Open Space Lands.

1. No person shall cause, permit, or allow any animal owned or possessed by him or her or any animal in his or her custody or control to be present in open space lands except:

a. Equine animals being led or ridden under reasonable control upon any bridle paths or trails; provided, that they are designated and identified for such purposes;

b. Equine or other animals which are hitched or fastened at a place expressly designated for such purpose;

c. Dogs or cats when led by a cord or chain not more than six feet long;

d. Dogs which have been specially trained and are being used by blind or disabled persons to aid and guide them in their movements;

e. Small pets which are kept on the person of the possessor at all times;

f. In connection with activities authorized in writing by the director;

g. Animals in the open space for grazing purposes pursuant to an agreement approved by the city council.

2. The director may prohibit animals in certain posted areas in city open space lands in the interest of public health, safety, comfort, and welfare, or for purposes of habitat protection.

G. Duty to Care for and Control Animals. It shall be the mandatory duty of all persons owning, possessing, in control of, or otherwise responsible for a dog, a cat, or an equine animal in city open space lands to exercise proper care and control of such animal so as not to molest or menace any other person, domestic animal, wildlife, or livestock in or upon city open space lands.

H. Sound Amplifiers Prohibited.

1. The council enacts this legislation for the sole purpose of securing and promoting the public health, comfort, safety, and welfare of its citizenry, and for the proper stewardship of city open space lands. While recognizing that certain uses of sound amplifying equipment are protected by the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly, the council nevertheless feels obligated to reasonably regulate the use of sound amplifying equipment in order to protect the correlative constitutional rights of the citizens of this community to privacy and freedom from the public nuisance of loud and unnecessary sound.

2. It is unlawful for any person to install, use, and operate within city open space lands a loudspeaker or any sound amplifying equipment for the purposes of giving instructions, directions, talks, addresses, and lectures, or of transmitting music to any persons or assemblages of persons in city open space lands, except by authorized law enforcement, fire department, or park and recreational personnel for public safety or other informational purposes.

I. Possession or Consumption of Alcohol Unlawful. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage in city open space lands.

J. Non-Electric Power Boats Prohibited on Laguna Lake. Any boat containing any source of power other than sails or oars, or more than one electric motor, is prohibited from operating on the lake located in the southwesterly portion of the city, adjacent to Madonna Road, Los Osos Valley Road, and Foothill Boulevard, known as Laguna Lake. This section shall not apply to any boats authorized by the council for patrol or maintenance purposes.

K. Skating and Use of Skating Equipment Prohibited in City Open Space Lands. Use of skateboards, rollerblades, or rollerskates in city open space lands is prohibited.

L. Litter and Trash. Litter shall be disposed of properly. Disposal of trash or litter within or upon city open space lands is prohibited.

M. Weapons, Paintballs, Fireworks and Fires Prohibited. Possession or discharge of weapons, firearms, paintballs, fireworks, or the building of fires is prohibited on city open space lands.

N. Climbing Only in Designated Areas and Routes—Waiver Required—Installation of New Bolts Prohibited without Authorization—Advisory Committee.

1. Rock-climbing is permitted only within specific designated areas on city open space lands. Said areas shall be identified by the director, who may also make reasonable rules concerning such use, including but not limited to requirements for waivers of liability as a condition of permission for such use.

2. No person shall set or install climbing bolts in any designated climbing area without the written approval of the director.

3. The director shall appoint a committee of persons interested in climbing to advise him or her on matters affecting designated climbing areas, including but not limited to reviewing requests for new climbing routes, inspections of climbing areas, climbing bolts installed therein, or other matters pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the area.

O. Parasailing Permitted Only in Designated Areas and with Authorization—New Areas Prohibited without Authorization—Advisory Committee.

1. Parasailing is permitted only within specific designated areas on city open space lands. Said areas shall be identified by the director, who may also make reasonable rules concerning such use, including but not limited to requirements for waivers of liability, proof of insurance, and membership in the United States Hang Gliding Association as a condition of permission for such use.

2. Participants in parasailing events must wear appropriate head protection, carry a reserve chute, and must pass an on-site ground skills test.

3. The director shall appoint a committee of persons interested in climbing to advise him or her on matters affecting parasailing or other matters pertaining to the operation and maintenance of the area.

P. Travel Generally Restricted to Designated Trails—No Trail Construction without Authorization. Travel in city open space lands is generally restricted to trails designated for such travel, and off-trail travel is prohibited in places where it is unsafe to so travel, or where such travel can result in erosion problems or resource damage. Furthermore, construction of new trails is prohibited except where authorized by the director as part of a trail improvement program for a given open space land. However, city open space lands are open to off-trail travel in areas where it is safe to do so and such travel is not damaging to the environment. (Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998)

12.22.060 Enforcement.

The parks and recreation department, through its park rangers, shall have the primary responsibility for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. Park rangers and city police officers shall have the authority to cite individuals found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter. In addition, other city staff involved in the maintenance and operation of city open space lands shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Violations under this chapter shall be designated as infractions. (Ord. 1410 § 3, 2002: Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998)

12.22.070 Compliance with regulations required.

It shall be unlawful to enter or remain in any open space unless there is compliance at all times with all of the regulations set forth in this chapter applicable to such lands and all other applicable laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations. (Ord. 1332 § 1 (part), 1998)