Park Space Requirement Dismays Developers

Builders' groups and developers are upset over a proposal in Houston that would require them to include park space in any developments of 100 units or more. They say the requirement will stifle development.

"As details emerged Monday of new requirements for developers to provide land or pay fees for park acquisition and improvements, leaders of development groups said the city was on the verge of imposing an unfair burden on their industry."

"A draft ordinance reviewed by a City Council committee Monday would require a developer who built 100 houses to provide 2.6 acres for park space or pay an $80,000 fee."

"The ordinance, which city officials hope to have in place by Oct. 1, would be one of the most significant new regulatory requirements in years for Houston's politically powerful development industry. Leaders of single-family home and apartment development organizations said they supported the measure in principle but were concerned about some details."

"Edward E. Taravella, chairman of the Greater Houston Builders Association's development council, said the city should consider counting yards attached to single-family homes toward the parks and open space requirements. Otherwise, he said, the measure would discourage development of single-family houses with yards."

Full Story: Parks rule not looking pretty to developers



"the measure would

"the measure would discourage development of single-family houses with yards"

I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Better yet, instead of having the developers provide the parks themselves (and deal with issues of them being quasi-private/limited to residents of said development), simply require developers to fund the city's own public parks.

Parks are an economic necessity...

Park space is not an amenity. It is an economic necessity. In order for the 'built environment' to achieve its fullest economic potential, some portion of the 'unbuilt environment' must be dedicated to natural landscaping. Developers who ignore this reality are being penny-wise and pound-foolish, nevermind greed-driven.

Park space is a critical component in theories of mixed-use development. If the general welfare of the public is to be met, the ability to walk between destinations depends upon a commodius environment. Even the barest sidewalk space must compete adequately with oppressive roadway.

Following such planning theories, the small park and public plaza space is more important than large parks which being isolated do not follow the mixed-use principle. Houston, you have a problem.

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