Changes to Cedar Park parkland dedication requirements set to go before City Council

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Cedar Park City Council will consider changes to the city’s parkland dedication and fee regulations at an upcoming meeting after the Cedar Park Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of several amendments Tuesday night.

The city’s Code of Ordinances Chapter 12 subdivision regulations establishes parkland dedication requirements for developers. Currently, the requirements include the dedication of eight acres of parkland per 1,000 ultimate residents of a development, according to city documents.

Developers may also choose to pay a fee in lieu of dedicating parkland at a rate of $720 per unit in a single-family development, or $480 per unit in a multifamily development, according to city documents. Most residential developers pay the fee rather than dedicating land, the documents state.

These rates were established under the assumption that an acre of land in Cedar Park is worth $30,000.

“The last time we updated [the parkland dedication ordinance]was back in 2002,” said Chris Copple, the director of development services for Cedar Park. “Land values have changed since 2002, [and]we also have a new parks master plan so [this is]looking at that as a guide.”

ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS

One of the proposed amendments would raise that assumption to $50,000 per acre, which Copple said is more in line with the actual values of land throughout the city, although medium-and high-density property can be valued higher.

The amendment would raise the fee in lieu of parkland costs to $1,200 per unit for lower-density developments with less than six units per acre; $1,000 per unit for medium-density developments with between six and 20 units per acre; and $800 per unit for higher-density developments with over 20 units per acre, according to city documents.

Another amendment would require residential developments with six or more units per acre to pay the fee, eliminating the option for that development to dedicate parkland. Copple said this amendment would provide predictability to developers. He also said the city is not interested in acquiring small “pocket parks” inside developments but instead focused on parks at least five acres in size.

Under this amendment, lower-density residential developments would still have the option to dedicate parkland.

A third amendment to the ordinance would add a new park improvement fee, which would help fund park amenities such as playground equipment. The proposed improvement fees are $450 per unit in lower-density developments; $375 per unit in a medium-density development; and $300 per unit in a higher-density development, according to city documents.

Other proposed amendments could require the construction of trails, provide allowances to credit some requirements if the developer constructs public improvements and other changes.

IMPLEMENTING CHANGE

The creation of amendments to the parkland dedication ordinance was put in motion after Cedar Park city staff identified possible amendments and presented them to City Council April 12.

“[The parkland dedication ordinance is] a very common tool used by cities when residential development happens,” Assistant Director of Development Services Amy Link said at the April meeting. “Residential development adds additional citizens to the city [and then]there’s a need for park facilities.”

At a May 15 meeting, the zoning commission conducted a public hearing on the changes, according to city documents. No one spoke at the public hearing. Cedar Park’s Parks, Arts and Community Enrichment Board voted 5-0 to recommend the amendments to the ordinance June 11.

The amendments are slated to go before City Council June 28 for the first reading and public hearing, and then council members will have the opportunity to take action on the item on July 12 with the second reading, according to Copple’s presentation.

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Abby Bora
Abby Bora started at Community Impact Newspaper in May 2017. After working as a reporter, she became editor of the Cedar Park | Leander edition in October 2018. She covers Leander ISD and city government. Bora graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. with a bachelor’s degree in media and communications studies.
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