ENFORCEMENT, MAINTENANCE and PRESERVATION of Parklands & other City Owned Land.
The control of the Parklands, trail system and other city land in PVE would appear to be under the Parklands Committee. However, before the passing of the aforementioned policy in 2014, the City Council did not allow this committee to create an agenda or develop policies, unless they were requested to do so by the Council. Instead, the Parklands Committee has essentially served as a "street tree committee," recommending whether to trim, remove or plant trees, almost exclusively on R/W; not Parklands.
The PVE Enforcement Officer is supposed to provide protection of Parklands and other City owned land from nonstandard or nonauthorized encroachments. However, apparently this city employee only has authority to investigate such encroachments if a formal complaint is brought to his/her attention. Also, according to resolution to remove Parkland encroachments, R05-32, a resident has 5-years before they need to remove an encroachment, or a new property owner is to be notified within two months of purchasing a property in PVE that they need to abate an existing encroachment. However, it appears new owners are not being notified and the five-year period can be viewed as an encouragement, rather than a deterrent, for owners to be nonauthorized encroachments.
PVE's Police Department has responsibilities to enforce the municipal codes on City owned property. But there are no officers dedicated to protect Parklands, nor is there a Park Ranger. Often the shortage of police is mentioned as a reason for the limited surveillance of activities on Parklands and other City property. However, the proposed use of volunteer Parkland Rangers under the authority of the PVE Police may help improve the protection and preservation of Parklands.
PVE Maintenance Department has a few employees, but they have limited involvement regarding Parklands and are mostly involved with the R/W. The actual maintenance of most city owned land has been outsourced with Landscape Maintenance and Fire Abatement Contracts. The noted contracts amount to about $275,000 annually and are not reviewed by the Parklands Committee, nor the maintenance supervisor. Instead, only one or two other staff employees have reviewed these contracts. Even though they are formally approved by the Council, there's limited oversight.
The City Forester is actually an employee of another firm that has a contract with the city for his services about three days a week. It appears his emphasis involves the Street Tree Policy, which includes trees on R/W, not Parklands. Apparently he may also have supervision capability of the Landscape Maintenance and Fire Abatement contracts and recently he was involved in designing and implementing landscaping around City entrances.
A project to improve City entrances was funded in mid 2012 with $140,000 out of a total of $200,000 that the City Council allocated, with the remainder designated for trails and Parklands. However, it appears this funding was overdrawn by about $100,000 with nothing remaining for trails and Parklands. Please see City Entrance Funding Overdrawn.
As a result of the aforesaid processes, there are numerous opportunities to better preserve, enforce and maintain PVE's open spaces, . The Parklands Use Policy had the potential to change the noted processes. But the Policy approved by the Council mostly was primarily intended to provide protection and privacy for those residents adjacent to Parklands, and to serve as a guide with more review given to the Parklands Committee. Please see the summary and critique of the Parklands Use Policy.