Proposed System Development Charge Increase Open Houses

This post is copied from an e-newsletter from the Audubon Society of Portland. It expresses their views and is provided here for your informational purposes.

Update on Proposed System Development Charge (SDC) increase for new Parks, Trails, and Natural Areas.

Please Attend Upcoming Open Houses and Support Commissioner Saltzman’s proposal for new funding for Parks, Trails and Natural Areas.
Portland Parks and Recreation is holding two open houses on a proposed increase in Park System Development Charges (SDCs), one time fees on new development that pay for new parks, trails and natural areas to service growth. The open houses are an opportunity for citizens to review and give feedback on an evolving proposal by Commissioner Dan Saltzman that the City Council first heard last December. For background see the Audubon Society of Portland Urban Conservation Page.
The latest proposal makes a number of changes responding the public testimony heard at a December 12th, 2007 hearing, specifically demands of some developers that the fee increase was too high. The net effect of these changes is reduce park acquisition, to increase trailway acquisition, and lower the fees for commercial and residential development, but to largely maintain the overall cost recovery rate proposed by Commissioner Saltzman in December.
We need your help in attending the open houses and expressing continued strong support for Commissioner Saltzman’s proposal to recover 75% of growth related costs for providing parks, trails and natural areas. Your continued support now is critical to ensure the City Council does not shrink from adequately funding new parks, trails, and natural areas as Portland continues to grow.

Open House Dates & Locations:

  • Wednesday, February 20, 6:30-8pm, Multnomah County Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy.
  • Monday, February 25, 6:30-8pm, East Portland Community Center, 740 SE 106th Ave.

Reasons to Support Commissioner Saltzman’s proposal

Portland is projected to grow to 700,000 by 2020. Portland will remain a desirable place for new growth and development; building the costs of parks, trails and natural areas into the cost of development is essential having quality development in our neighborhoods.

Portland needs new public places for people and wildlife. Less than 50% of Portlanders live within 1/4 mile walking distance of a public greenspace, below most of the other cities in our region. Only 32% of Portland’s population lives within 1/4 mile of a natural area while 64% of the region’s population lives within 1/4 mile of a natural area.New development should pay its fair share for new parks. The proposal to require new development to pay 75% of park costs to service new growth is fair and reasonable. With a current cost recovery rate for park SDCs of only 22%, Portland has some of the lowest park SDC rates in the region. All but two cities in the region- Oregon City and Wilsonville- have better neighborhood park access and higher park SDCs. • Park SDCs ensure adequate and equitable access to parks, trails, and natural areas. Commissioner Saltzman’s proposed increases in park SDCs will ensure more equitable park access in the future. The Coalition for a Livable Future’s Regional Equity Atlas found that park deficient areas are more likely to have low-income residents suggesting that the consequences of inadequate park development are not born equally by future generations.
• Satlzman’s proposal increase in Portland’s park SDCs will address deficiencies in park acquisition and development in high growth neighborhoods east of I-205. The increase in park funding will expand the entire park, trail and greenway system in all its components while helping address geographic and social disparities in park access. • Charging SDCs for employment-related and commercial development makes sense. It will ensure businesses pay their fair share in supporting vibrant business districts and quality workplaces with adequate parks and trails.
For background and more information see the Audubon Society of Portland Urban Conservation Page.

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