By PVE Trails & Open Space Conservancy

PVE  TRAILS thru Parklands & Paths

 

CRITIQUE of the PARKLANDS USE POLICY

Various concerns expressed about the Policy were that: 1) it was too general and needed to be more specific, 2) it was unclear specifically what and where the Parklands are located (especially since there is an unresolved discrepancy in the total size of the parklands between 700 to 850 acres), 3) it should be broader (including all Open Spaces, including Paths/Lanes), 4) that certain terms and definitions were inappropriate (for example, the term "paths" is being used for Parklands in the policy instead of "trails," which is in contradiction to those terms in other official city documents, 5) it did not specifically address the abatement of unauthorized encroachments by adjoining owners, thereby not adequately protecting and preserving Parklands, 6) it did not provide any active resident oversight of Parkland maintenance, which has excluded brush clearing and made many Parkland areas and Paths inaccessible, 7) it did not provide for any replacement of invasive and flammable plants with those that are native, fire retardant and drought resistant, 8) it did not address new tree plantings on Parklands that have been non-existent for decades, 9) it did not require the need to prepare an inventory of trails nor recommend specific trail (path) maintenance standards so that trails can be safer and more self sustaining, 10) it did not address the need to identify and better protect unique trees and sensitive habitat, 11) the PVE Shoreline Preserve, which is very unique and the largest Parkland parcel PVE with 130 acres, was not mentioned or addressed, 12) there was no mention of a need to develop plans and budgets to better maintain and preserve the Parklands, 13) the need to restrict Parkland access involving areas with sensitive habitat (or that may be involved in restoration) was not mentioned, 14) the mutiluse trail policy on Parklands for both bikers and pedestrians may need to be reviewed (especially involving narrow trails), 15) the use of video surveillance for certain Parkland entrances and trails to better protect both adjoining owners and Parklands was not considered...


As the above indicates, the Policy fails to address many relevant issues pertaining to Parklands.  Sometimes it's better for Policies to be brief and general. But when items have been neglected or ignored, it's usually necessary to be more specific.  Hopefully, the Parklands Committee will find it compelling to address several of the important issues noted above, to expand or revise the newly adopted Policy and to create an appropriate "balance" as referenced. However, the City Council had a relatively new city staff with limited Parkland experience develop the Policy and intentionally limited the Parklands Committee involvement in the Policy to just one joint meeting. All the current Council Members approved the sale of 2 acres of Parklands to an adjoining resident and are in litigation to protect their decision that would allow Parklands to again be sold in the future. (See www.pveopenspace.com.) The city staff and Council were also provided with a study of over 100 encroachments on both Parklands and Paths several months ago, has done nothing about it and intentionally seemed to ignore this matter in the Policy.  Therefore, based on the Council's recent actions and inactions, as well as the lack of important items addressed in the Policy (other than providing rather empty rhetoric), the Trails Group is doubtful of any positive material changes to PVE's Parklands - until there is more support to better preserve, manage and maintain our Parklands. So, if you are in disagreement with the way the PVE City Council is handling the affairs involving Parklands, trails and other open spaces, please let us know, register or join - and speak up!