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The city cares about parkland

Posted: September 11, 2008 10:29 p.m.
Updated: November 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Recently, questions have come up about the city's efforts to expand public parkland and how this effort is related to the One Valley, One Vision joint city/county general plan update.

Since incorporation, one of the top goals that the Santa Clarita City Council has been to continuously and aggressively pursue the addition of public parks in order to eliminate the existing parkland deficit.

This "parkland deficit" is derived by comparing the city's active park space compared to its population. At incorporation in 1987, the city had only 57 acres of active parkland, or based on the population, just .54 acres per 1,000 residents.

The National Parks and Recreation Association and park experts have established a "5 acres/1,000 standard" as the appropriate standard for a community like ours.

Over the last two decades of cityhood, the Santa Clarita City Council has added the beautiful 80-acre Central Park, the 20-acre sports complex with its aquatic center, activity center, skatepark and gymnasium; Pamplico Park in Saugus, Creekview Park in Newhall and Todd Longshore Park in Canyon Country, to name just a few of the additions to the city's list of parks.

In just two decades, the city's total parkland acreage has grown from 57 to more than 250 acres.
The city's General Plan, adopted in 1991, sets the parkland goal for the city at five acres per 1,000 residents. The current draft of the One Valley, One Vision General Plan update that is in the public review process maintains that same standard: "The city's General Plan standard will remain 5 acres per 1,000 in this General Plan update. ..."

The discussion that has been confusing is regarding a historical paragraph on a following page that references the Quimby Act, which allows cities to provide less than five acres of parkland per 1,000 residents.

But in the spring and summer of 2005, based on advice from the community, the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission and the Planning Commission, the City Council reaffirmed the five-acre goal and directed city staff to ask future developments to meet the General Plan standard of five acres per 1,000 for parkland.

This is the standard that the city expects and has been receiving for those who wish to develop within the city of Santa Clarita.


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