Community Issues - Special Laws

Bill 73-16, Open Space

Sponsor: Almond, Marks

This Bill made significant changes to the definition of what constitutes "open space", including allowing "indoor uses" such as a pool, gym, lounge, or game room to be counted (even if not reuely public). In addition, many changes were made in the final legislative session before being passed so citizens were completely prevented from seeing the propased changes before the Work Session where they should have been able to comment. See details here.

It further contains a strange statement that open space means "a parcel or parcels of land that is a minimum average of 75 feet side or has an average grade of no more that 15 percent". (Clearly the "or" should be "and".) It is unknown how one determines the "minimum average width" of an irregular-shaped parcel. There really is no such thing as "average grade".

As a result, if the parcel is wide enough, it can be as steep as hell. Or if fairly level, it can be very narrow. Obvioulsy not what was intended.

Prior to it being considered, I sent the following comments to David Marks:

Please make the following corrections/changes to this bill before passage.

Page 3, line 14- Definition of "Amenity" - Clarify that it only includes land that is completely open, without fee, to the public at large.

In that definition, I have no idea what a "plaza" is.

Page 4, line 9 - Definition of "Open Space" says "an average of 75 feet wide". I certainly think it means to say "at least an average of". However, I don't know why such a criteria would exist. I don't even know how one determines the "average width" of an iregular shapped parcel such as the one being used for "Bentley Woodland Garden", which has a 25ft wide access. Why not just give a minimum area of contiguous space? Further, the word "or" in this sentence should be "and", otherwise, a large parcel on a steep slope or a tiny parcel on level ground would be allowed.

Page 6, line 22 - The filing of an annual report with the County Auditor should not be "at the discretion of the NeighborSpace Board of Directors". It should either be required or not. Either delete these words or the whole sentence.

Thanks for continuing to care about this subject.

In the extensive changes made during the final legislative meeting as noted above, none of my comments were included in the amendments made, even though there were amendment actually made to 2 of the 3 lines mentioned in those commnents.

Introduced Oct 3, 2016; approved Nov 7 (with extensive amendments); effective Nov 21

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Updated 22 Mar 2022 by MAP