Chapter 15.01


15.01.010    Purpose and findings.

15.01.020    Definitions.

15.01.030    Amendment.

15.01.040    Conformance with General Plan and Local Coastal Program.

15.01.050    General requirements.

15.01.060    Formula for dedication of land.

15.01.070    Park dedication standards.

15.01.080    Park site review process.

15.01.090    Fees in lieu of land dedication.

15.01.100    Formula for calculation of fees in lieu of land dedication.

15.01.110    Procedure for land dedication or in-lieu fee determination.

15.01.120    Schedule for land dedication and payment of in-lieu fee.

15.01.130    Use of in-lieu fees.

15.01.140    Exemptions.

15.01.150    Change of site.

    Prior legislation: Ords. 1853, 2341, 2506, 2600, 2673, 2800, 2822, 3064, 3183, 3186, 3338, 3482, 3596, 3684, 4174, 4318, 4346, 4396, 4496-C, 4772, 4836 and 4985.

15.01.010 Purpose and findings.

(A)    The purpose of this chapter is to implement the park and recreation policies of the General Plan and Local Coastal Program by providing for the orderly development of local park and recreation facilities to serve the residential communities of the County.

(B)    This chapter is adopted pursuant to the authority granted by Section 66477 of the Government Code of the State of California. The park and recreational facilities for which dedication of land and/or payment of a fee is required by this chapter are in accordance with the “Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities” element of the General Plan of the County.

(C)    This chapter provides an important element in the County programs to provide neighborhood and community parks conveniently located and accessible to serve local urbanized neighborhoods and centers of rural settlement. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.020 Definitions.

All terms used in this chapter shall be defined in the General Plan and Local Coastal Program. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.030 Amendment.

(A)    Any revision to this chapter which applies to the Coastal Zone shall be reviewed by the Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission to determine whether it constitutes an amendment to the Local Coastal Program.

(B)    When an ordinance revision constitutes an amendment to the Local Coastal Program, such revision shall be processed pursuant to the hearing and notification provisions of Chapter 13.03 SCCC and shall be subject to approval by the California Coastal Commission. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.040 Conformance with General Plan and Local Coastal Program.

The park, recreation, and public access facilities hereby required shall conform to the Santa Cruz County General Plan including its various elements, and the Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan, as adopted and amended at the time of decision on dedication or fees. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.050 General requirements.

(A)    As a condition of approval of a tentative subdivision map, the subdivider shall be required to dedicate land, pay a fee in lieu thereof, or both for community, neighborhood and rural park or recreational purposes at the time and according to the standards and formula contained in this chapter. The requirement shall be determined by the Planning Director or the Board of Supervisors, as appropriate.

(B)    The Santa Cruz County General Plan and Local Coastal Program establish the following standards for functional parkland:

(1)    In urban areas: three acres of neighborhood parks and two to three acres of community parks per 1,000 residents;

(2)    In rural areas: five to six acres of rural park land per 1,000 residents.

(C)    Government Code Section 66477 limits the ability of the County in approving a subdivision map to requiring dedication of land, payment of in-lieu fees, or a combination of both, to the amount necessary to provide three acres of parkland per 1,000 persons unless existing park area within the County exceeds that standard in which case a higher standard not to exceed five acres per 1,000 persons may be applied. Functional parkland within the County of Santa Cruz exceeds five acres per 1,000 persons. Accordingly, the formula for dedication of land and the calculation of in-lieu fees set forth in this chapter shall be based on the standard of providing five acres of community/neighborhood parkland in urban areas and five acres of parkland in rural areas. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.060 Formula for dedication of land.

(A)    Where a park or recreation facility has been designated in or is consistent with policies and standards in the parks and recreation element of the General Plan of the County, and is to be located in whole or in part within the proposed subdivision to serve the immediate and future needs of the residents of the subdivision, the subdivider shall dedicate land for neighborhood/community parks in urban areas or rural parks in rural areas that is sufficient in size and topography to meet that purpose.

(B)    The amount of land per dwelling unit to be provided shall be determined pursuant to the following standards and formula:

A = 5 x N/1,000

Where “A” is the park area required to be dedicated in acres and “N” is the average number of persons per household or unit according to the most recent available Federal census or a census taken pursuant to Chapter 17 (commencing with Section 40200) of Part 2 of Division 3 of Title 4. (California Government Code Section 66477).

As an example, based on the 2016 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, the average household size per residential unit in the County is 2.48. Therefore, the dedication requirement is 0.0124 acres or 540 square feet of parkland per dwelling unit.

(C)    For purposes of this section, the number of proposed dwelling units shall be determined as follows: In areas zoned for one dwelling unit per lot or parcel, the number of dwelling units shall equal the number of parcels indicated on the tentative map. When all or part of the subdivision is located in an area zoned for multiple dwelling units per parcel, the number of dwelling units in the area so zoned shall equal the maximum number of dwelling units allowed under that zone.

(D)    For residential condominium projects, the number of dwelling units shall equal the number of condominium units indicated on the tentative map.

(E)    For planned development projects, the number of dwelling units shall equal the number of dwelling units indicated on the approved final development plan. The term “new dwelling unit” does not include dwelling units lawfully in place prior to the date on which the tentative map is approved.

(F)    Planned developments as defined in Business and Professions Code Section 11003 and any successor provisions of the Business and Professions Code, which contain common open space areas usable for active recreation purposes may receive park dedication credit to the extent that this land exceeds the normal common open space requirements for such development projects, the land meets the County’s standards for usable public community, neighborhood or rural parkland as determined in the sole discretion of the Parks Director, and if it is determined that such credit is in the best interests of the County. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.070 Park dedication standards.

(A)    Lands to be dedicated as parkland shall be suitable, as determined in the sole discretion of the Parks Director in regard to location, topography, environmental characteristics and development potential as related to the intended use.

(B)    Lands to be dedicated as parkland shall be requirements in addition to, and not in lieu of, any setback or open space area required by the zone district regulations.

(C)    Up to 25 percent of the land dedication requirement may be met by dedication of land within the 100-year floodplain if the County determines that (1) the site is appropriate as a park site under the provisions of SCCC 15.01.080, (2) that the land is suitable for park use, and (3) no permanent structures are required to be constructed thereon to use the land for its intended parkland purpose, excepting those described in subsection (D) of this section.

(D)    The dedicated land shall be delivered to the County as an improved parcel conforming to the off-site improvements required for the subdivision. Off-site improvements essential to the acceptance of land for dedication may include but are not limited to:

(1)    Full street improvements and utility connections including, but not limited to, street paving, traffic control devices, street trees, street lighting, curb, gutter and sidewalk to land which is dedicated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;

(2)    Necessary fencing;

(3)    Extension of utility lines;

(4)    Drainage improvements;

(5)    The provision of other minimal improvements which the County’s Board of Supervisors determines to be essential to the acceptance of land for surrounding residential purposes; and

(6)    Access to at least one improved public street. This requirement may be waived by the County if the County determines that public street access is unnecessary for the maintenance of the park area or use thereof by the public.

(E)    Offers to dedicate land are irrevocable pursuant to Government Code Section 7050. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.080 Park site review process.

(A)    The staff of the Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services Department shall prepare a park site review report as required by this subsection, whenever parkland is to be dedicated pursuant to the requirements included in this chapter, or an application for one or more of the following permits or approvals is submitted in accordance with Chapter 18.10 SCCC for a parcel located within the “D” Combining District, and whenever the Parks Director, or a member of the Board of Supervisors acting pursuant to SCCC 13.10.418(A), determines that the parcel should be evaluated:

(1)    A building permit for a new single-family dwelling or a new second unit;

(2)    A coastal development permit for a new single-family dwelling or a new second unit;

(3)    A land division permit;

(4)    A commercial development permit;

(5)    A policy amendment; or

(6)    Any other development permit processed at Level V or greater.

(B)    The Parks and Recreation Commission and Board of Supervisors shall review the Park Site Review Report to determine County policy regarding dedication and/or purchase of all or part of the site, payment of in-lieu fees, improvement of the site by the applicant, or a combination of these.

(C)    Park Site Review Factors. The park site review report shall analyze all the following factors in regard to evaluating the suitability of a particular site for parkland purposes:

(1)    The topography, soils, drainage, access, location, and general utility of the land in the development and land available for dedication;

(2)    Whether the lands offered for dedication will substantially comply with the General Plan and the Local Coastal Program Land Use Plan, or identify suitable alternative park sites in the area;

(3)    The size and shape of the development and land available for dedication;

(4)    Whether dedications by owners of parcels contiguous to the parkland to be dedicated or acquired, or that are contiguous with existing public lands, may be coordinated in order to accomplish grouping of land that can maximize public benefit;

(5)    The area or local recreation or access facilities to be privately owned and maintained by the future residents of the development;

(6)    Proximity of the site to existing population centers;

(7)    The existing infrastructure and utilities on site, past and current structures on site, site history and potential hazards and potential remediation needed on the site;

(8)    The activities, programs and projects of other agencies that relate to the use of the site for park purposes;

(9)    Development needs or the nature of improvements required to make the site appropriate for park use or to develop to its full potential for park use;

(10)    Other factors specific to the site and surroundings that affect its suitability for park use;

(11)    Written recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Commission after review of the park site review report. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.090 Fees in lieu of land dedication.

(A)    A fee in lieu of land dedication shall be required when:

(1)    Dedication is impossible, impractical or undesirable as determined by both the Planning Director and Parks Director, or the County Board of Supervisors, as appropriate; or

(2)    When the proposed subdivision contains 50 parcels of land or less.

(B)    The determination by the County as to whether land shall be dedicated, or whether a fee shall be charged, or a combination of the two, shall be final. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.100 Formula for calculation of fees in lieu of land dedication.

(A)    General Formula. If either the Planning Director and Parks Director, or the Board of Supervisors determines that the dedication of land is not appropriate, the subdivider shall, in lieu of dedicating land, pay a fee equal to the estimated cost to the County of acquiring parkland with off-site improvements. The fee amount shall be the amount published in the County’s general fee schedule at the time of final map or parcel map approval.

(B)    Alternative Formula. If the subdivider objects to the County’s fee schedule, the subdivider may request the County to obtain an appraisal by a qualified real estate appraiser of the fair market value of the land which the subdivider would otherwise be required to be dedicated according to SCCC 15.01.060 plus a 20 percent factor to provide for off-site improvements. The appraiser shall be an MAI appraiser mutually agreed upon by the County and the subdivider. All costs required to obtain such appraisal shall be borne by the subdivider.

The fee computation shall be based on the fair market value of buildable land within the subdivision. For purposes of this chapter, buildable land is defined as typical subdivision acreage, with a slope of less than 15 percent, and located in other than an area on which building is excluded because of flooding, easements, or other restrictions. For purposes of determining fair market value pursuant to this subsection, the appraiser shall consider, among other things:

(1)    Conditions of approval of the tentative map;

(2)    The General Plan and zoning requirements for the area;

(3)    The location and site characteristics of the property; and

(4)    Off-site and on-site improvements facilitating use of the property. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.110 Procedure for land dedication or in-lieu fee determination.

(A)    At the time of the approval or conditional approval of the tentative map, the approving body shall determine, after a report and recommendation from the Planning Director, whether land, or in-lieu fees or a combination of land and fees, shall be dedicated and/or paid by the subdivider, as applicable.

(B)    The report and recommendation from the Planning Director shall be supported by the recommendation from the Parks Director.

(C)    The approving body may approve, modify, or disapprove the recommendation of the Planning Director, provided, however, any modification of the proposed recommended condition not previously considered by the Planning Director shall first be referred back to the Planning Director for a report and further recommendation. The Planning Director shall report back to the approving body within 30 days. After receipt and consideration of the report, or after 30 days have passed in the event no report is received, the approving body may adopt the condition.

(D)    The recommendation of the Planning Director shall include the following:

(1)    The amount of land required; or

(2)    That a fee be charged in lieu of land; or

(3)    That a combination of land and a fee be required; and

(4)    The location of the parkland and, where appropriate, the siting and conceptual design of the park facilities appurtenant thereto, to be dedicated or used in lieu of fees; and

(5)    The approximate time when the development of the park or recreation facility shall commence. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.120 Schedule for land dedication and payment of in-lieu fee.

At the time of the recording of the final map or parcel map, the subdivider shall dedicate the land and/or pay the fees as determined by the County. At the discretion of the County, fees may be required to be paid prior to issuance of any building permit for any structure in the subdivision instead of at the time of recording of the final map or parcel map. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.130 Use of in-lieu fees.

(A)    Fees determined pursuant to SCCC 15.01.100 shall be paid to the County and shall be deposited into the County Parks Subdivision Park Dedication Fund or its successor, except for areas within a recreation district where fees shall be deposited into the Subdivision Park Dedication Fund for that recreation district or their successors. Money in these funds, including accrued interest, shall be expended solely for acquisition or development of park land or improvements related thereto. Collected fees shall be appropriated or paid for a specific project to serve residents of the subdivision in a budgetary year within five years upon receipt of payment or within five years after the issuance of building permits on one-half of the lots created by the subdivision, whichever date occurs later.

(B)    If such fees are not committed, these fees shall be distributed and paid to the then-recorded owners of the subdivision in the same proportion that the size of the lots bears to the total area of all lots in the subdivision.

(C)    The Parks Director shall report to the Board of Supervisors at least annually on income, expenditures and status of the County Parks Subdivision Park Dedication Fund. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.140 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to nonresidential subdivisions, and do not apply to condominium projects or stock cooperatives which consist of the subdivision of airspace in an existing apartment building which is more than five years old when no new dwelling units are added. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].

15.01.150 Change of site.

If, during the ensuing time between dedication of a parcel land for park purposes and commencement of first stage development, circumstances arise which indicate that another site would be more suitable for local park or recreational purposes serving the subdivision and the neighborhood (such as receipt of a gift of additional park land or a change in school location), that parcel of land may be sold upon the approval of the Board of Supervisors with the resultant funds being used for purchase of the more suitable site. [Ord. 5372 § 2, 2021].