Can you believe that 2013 is almost over? Are you excited about 2014? I certainly am! While this has been a good year for me personally and professionally, I am hoping for an even better 2014. As this is my last post of the year, I would like to take the opportunity to talk about the events and projects that I am most looking forward to in the coming year.
As I shared previously in “Land Use Law & Order,” this is a conference I have been attending the past few years. The amount of information shared by the speakers can be a bit overwhelming at times, but I always enjoy the event and find it very interesting. Essentially, the one-day conference offers a big picture view of land use law and planning practice, with very knowledgeable speakers providing updates on state and federal case law and legislation as well as practice pointers. The 2014 keynote address will feature three prominent planners: Gail Goldberg and Bill Anderson, former planning directors for the City of San Diego, and Bill Fulton, the current planning director. I look forward to learning from them as they offer their insights, and share stories about planning in California’s second largest city. I am also excited about the session on demographics and California planning with panelists Jeannette Dinwiddie-Moore, Victor Rubin, and professor Dowell Myers (who was one of my mentors at the University of Southern California). The event is typically well-attended by planners, attorneys, environmentalists, and developers who want to know how land use law and planning is changing and affecting their interests. Like past years, the conference will be held at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
This is a very special symposium that I think all park planners should try to attend. After all, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. was one of America’s preeminent landscape architects and planners who pioneered comprehensive planning and played a critical role in forming the nation’s county, state, and national parks. He contributed to the creation of the National Park Service, and for 30 years advised the NPS on the management of land, water, and scenic resources. Here in California, Olmsted helped established the State Park system and East Bay Regional Park District, and recommended a 160,000-acre park and parkway network for the Los Angeles region. The symposium will discuss the continued relevance of, and inspirations from, his visionary work as we seek to address contemporary challenges in regional planning, landscape architecture, and natural resource conservation. It will be great to learn more about Olmsted’s lasting influence on issues specific to the American West, including park management, metropolitan growth, and the protection of the region’s unique environmental resources. The symposium will be held at Stanford University, and include tours of the beautiful campus and the East Bay Regional Park District.
I recently became a member of the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP) which will be hosting the National Outdoor Recreation Conference in San Francisco. The SORP was formerly the National Association of Recreation Resource Planners. The theme of the conference is “Thriving in a New Economic Reality,” focusing on how recreational professionals are adapting to and thriving in our new economic reality. Specifically, there will be sessions on innovative partnerships, success with diversifying funding sources, the use of technology to streamline processes, entrepreneurial solutions, adaptive reuse of aging facilities, stories on how other agencies are cultivating political and community support, and other case studies that present new ideas and tools to succeed in today’s economic reality. These topics are highly relevant to my work, and it will be fun to learn with and from other recreation professionals. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and has much to offer in terms of parks and recreational resources. I am excited about this conference, the different sessions, and the field workshop at The Presidio and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
APA California Conference (September)
The 2014 APA California Conference is themed “California’s Adventures in Planning” and will be held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Although I have been to the past two national planning conferences (see “Los Angeles” and “Chicago“), it has been a few years since I last attended the state conference. The preliminary conference program has not been released yet, but I am sure the sessions will be informative and helpful. The conference will be focusing on the following Disney-themed core tracks:
- Commuterland: All Things Transportation-Related
- Cruisin’ in the Jungle: All Things California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Related
- New Frontiers: Emerging Development/Land Use Trends
- Main Street: Neighborhood Revitalization, Downtown Revitalization, etc.
- Soaring Adventures: Planning Commission Training, Ethics, Public Outreach
- Magic Behind the Scenes: Legal issues and Doing the Right Thing
As I shared previously in “Parks and Recreation: Not Just Fun and Games” I am currently managing the development of parks and recreation plans for six unincorporated communities in Los Angeles County: East Los Angeles, East Rancho Dominguez, Lennox, Walnut Park, West Athens-Westmont, and Willowbrook. This year, we have completed the existing conditions reports and held the first round of community workshops in all six communities. In 2014, we will continue to work with our consultants and the communities to identify potential sites and opportunities for new parks and recreational facilities in these park-poor areas. I really look forward to the design workshops in which we will work with community members to develop new park and greening concept plans. These workshops will give participants opportunities to work in small groups with planners and landscape architects to come up with designs and programs for new park or other greening projects in their communities.
As a park planner, one of my primarily responsibilities is to review residential subdivision maps and determine the need for new parks and recreational facilities. Essentially, my job is to ensure that developers comply with the County’s Quimby parkland requirements. (I previously discussed the County’s Quimby formula in “Why We Need the American Community Survey?” I am happy to report that the Board of Supervisors has amended the ordinance to allow for annual updates to the average household size which enables us to more accurately determine the parkland obligation of proposed subdivisions.) 2014 will be an exciting year as we continue to work with various developers on the design of new public parks to be included in large residential subdivisions in the northern portion of Los Angeles County. These new “Quimby parks” are intended to meet the recreational needs of future residents. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Quimby Act, it is a state law that allows local jurisdictions to require developers to provide parkland and/or pay in-lieu fees to meet the park needs of new residential subdivisions. Quimby is the last name of the former state assemblyman who helped create hundreds of local parks in California by writing the legislation that allows for this parkland requirement. Sadly, John P. Quimby passed away almost exactly a year ago (see his obituary in the L.A. Times).
Thank you for reading this. I hope you are excited about 2014 as well. Happy New Year!
UCLA Land Use Law & Planning Conference brochure cover from UCLA Extension – fair use doctrine, review
Stanford University campus by Jawed Karim, Wikipedia – creative commons lic.
Golden Gate Bridge from Wikipedia – public domain photo
Disneyland Hotel Larry Pieniazek, Wikipedia – creative commons lic.
Community Workshop by Clement Lau