The E. Riverside/Oltorf Combined Neighborhood Planning Area, EROC (which includes SRCC Areas 6 & 7 and Heritage Oaks Park), needs your help to save our Parkland Dedication Fees. (Most of EROC is a designated Parkland Deficient Area.) Comments deadline is Aug. 1st. Comment online at: http://austintexas.gov/parkland-dedication-rules-review. A complete set of the rules is also available at this link. Please email Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo also at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paragraph 4.3.11(B)(2) Use and Expenditure of Parkland Fees, if approved, will allow fees collected from new development to be taken from Parkland Deficient Areas and spent elsewhere. Currently, the fees collected are required to be spent within a half mile of the new development to purchase land in Parkland Deficient Areas. If there are no properties within that half mile radius that meet the Parks Dept.â€™s criteria for parkland (large parcels of land that is inexpensive and flat), the funds can be shifted to other areas.
Under the proposed rules, (B)(2) is the first option if no land is available for purchase. The last option, section (B)(4), is to use the funds to improve an existing park within the applicable Parkland Service Area. If no appropriate land is available for purchase, Subsection (B)(4) should be the first option, not the last.
The problem with (B)(2), especially for the Riverside NPA in which Heritage Oaks Park is located, is that there are no available tracts left that fit the Parks Dept.â€™s criteria. So much for the community benefits EROC was promised in return for all that additional density developers were given through the EROC Neighborhood Planning process and the E. Riverside Corridor Plan.
When there is no land available within EROCâ€™s Parkland Deficient Areas, those funds should be spent on improving what few park amenities we do have. Last year we had to fight to keep Mabel Davis Pool open â€“ which is the only public swimming pool within EROCâ€™s 3,300+ acres. Parks Dept. wanted to close it due to the cost of needed repairs.
Thank you for your consideration.
SRCC and EROC NPCT Member