Chapter 13.40


13.40.010    Short title.

13.40.020    Policy statement.

13.40.030    Purpose.

13.40.040    Director – Powers and duties.

13.40.050    Parks and recreation commission – Powers and duties.

13.40.060    Program criteria.

13.40.070    Procedure for appeals.

13.40.080    Stay, pending appeal.

13.40.010 SHORT TITLE.

This chapter shall be known as the “adopt-a-park ordinance of the city of Santa Cruz.”

(Ord. 2017-14 (part), 2017).


The parks and recreation department welcomes individuals, groups and organizations to assist in the general care and maintenance of park facilities, park amenities, neighborhood parks, community parks, open spaces and beaches in the city of Santa Cruz.

(Ord. 2017-14 (part), 2017).

13.40.030 PURPOSE.

To create a program that allows community groups, schools, organizations and individuals to partner with the parks and recreation department on the installation and/or maintenance of parks, park amenities, landscaping and facilities at city parks or areas of responsibility by the parks and recreation department.

(Ord. 2017-14 (part), 2017).


The director of parks and recreation department, or designee, shall be responsible for administering and enforcing this chapter. The director of the parks and recreation department shall have the following powers and duties in addition to those created elsewhere within this chapter:

(1)    Enter into park adoption agreements pursuant to Section 13.40.060;

(2)    Provide orientation and training of volunteers including the certification of use on special equipment and safety practices;

(3)    Assign staff liaisons to coordinate large-scale projects;

(4)    Present an annual report on park adoptions to the parks and recreation commission;

(5)    Establish a list of priorities and areas of critical need;

(6)    Evaluate the work of volunteers and asses the criteria of meeting the park adoption agreement as set forth in Section 13.40.060;

(7)    Any action taken by the director pursuant to this section or any other section of this code is discretionary. Neither this section nor any other section of this code shall be construed as creating a duty or obligation on behalf of the city. The city shall not incur any liability to the adopters, volunteers, or public arising out of its alleged failure to maintain parkways or facilities.

(Ord. 2021-17, 2021; Ord. 2017-14 (part), 2017).


The parks and recreation commission shall have the following powers and duties:

(1)    Hear appeals from park adoption applicants that have had their applications denied by the director.

(Ord. 2021-17, 2021; Ord. 2017-14 (part), 2017).


The parks and recreation department shall be responsible for implementing this program and for establishing and publishing procedures and policies related to park adoptions to include:

(1)    Processing initial applications based on program conditions;

(2)    Maintaining a list of adopted spaces;

(3)    Issuing park adoption agreements to adopters after review and acceptance by the director or their designee.

(4)    Volunteers.

a.    All volunteers must complete any additional forms as set by CityServe, the volunteer liaison or human resources.

b.    Work completed by volunteers will be evaluated by parks and recreation department staff.

(5)    Recognition.

a.    Volunteers will be formally recognized by CityServe.

b.    Successful completion of target volunteer hours shall trigger park adopted status as assigned by tiers published by the department and as established by the director.

(6)    Designated Status.

a.    Park designated status of “adopted” shall be assigned after an adopter successfully completes their program targets as assigned.

b.    A sign recognizing the adopter will be placed in the designated park or facility in recognition of the park adoption.

(7)    Program conditions and operations shall be established by the director and shall be published via departmental administrative procedure order (APO).

(Ord. 2021-17, 2021; Ord. 2017-14 (part), 2017).


(1)    A written notice of appeal, together with the appropriate appeal fee as set by city council resolution, must be received by the secretary of the commission not later than ten calendar days following the date of the decision or action from which such appeal is being taken. If the final day for filing an appeal occurs on a weekend day or holiday, the final filing date shall be extended to the next following business day.

(2)    The appellant shall state the basis for the appeal and shall specifically cite the provision of this chapter which is relied upon to appeal the action or decision of the department. The appeal must be signed by the appellant or appellant’s representative and must set forth the mailing address to which the secretary of the commission may direct the notice of a hearing.

(3)    Upon receipt of the appeal, the secretary of the commission shall schedule the matter for a public hearing at the next regularly scheduled business meeting, but not sooner than ten business days after receipt and no more than sixty days after the filing of the appeal.

(4)    Notice of the public hearing shall be sent by first class mail to the appellant at least ten calendar days prior to the hearing.

(5)    The commission shall consider the appeal de novo at a hearing. The appellant shall have the burden of proof to establish the basis for seeking a reversal of the action or decision by the department.

(6)    The commission shall make findings of fact on which it bases its action. The commission may grant the appeal, including requiring any conditions, mitigations, or modifications; or deny the appeal; or issue other appropriate decision or relief.

(7)    The decision of the commission shall be final unless appealed to the city council by the applicant under Chapter 1.16.

(Ord. 2021-17, 2021).


The receipt of a written appeal shall stay the director’s action, pending the decision of the parks and recreation commission on such appeal.

(Ord. 2021-17, 2021).