The County of Santa Clara

Approved as Amended
Mar 6, 2018 9:30 AM

Consider recommendations from the Parks and Recreation Department relating to the update of the Department’s Strategic Plan. (Parks and Recreation Department)


Department:Parks and Recreation DepartmentSponsors:

Multiple Recommendations

Possible action:
a. Receive report relating to the progress and recommendations of the Parks Department Strategic Plan Update.
b. Direct Administration to continue to plan to acquire, develop, rehabilitate, and operate the County Park System within the fiscal resources of the Park Charter Fund, plus grants and other funding available from non-County agencies and organizations.
c. Direct Administration to work with County Administration to identify options for County non-Park Charter Fund fiscal support and/or supplemental voter approved funding.



The Department has made regular reports to the Housing, Land Use, Environment, and Transportation Committee and the Parks and Recreation Commission during the process of developing the Strategic Plan Update.  No formal recommendations have been made with respect to this report. 


There is no fiscal implication to receiving the report to either the County General Fund or the Park Charter Fund.  The Strategic Plan Update will identify general funding priorities within the Park Charter Fund.  Additionally, the Department is seeking direction related to the projected gap in funding over the next decade.


The 2003 Strategic Plan for the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation System (Strategic Plan) sought to present a road map to guide the following 10-15 years of acquisition, planning, development, programming, management, and funding of regional parks and recreation in Santa Clara County. The 2006 abbreviated update re-assessed the 2003 park planning priorities and updated them as part of the 2006 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Action Plan. Most of the strategies and actions of the Strategic Plan have been accomplished in the intervening period, and although the plan is nearing the end of its useful life, much of the strategic direction set forth in the plan remains relevant.

Consequently, in late 2016, the Department initiated a major update of the Strategic Plan, at that time envisioned to include background research and analysis, an abbreviated visioning process, a countywide Needs Assessment including facilitation of public and internal Department input, and developing a final Strategic Plan Update document including a ten-year integrated capital and operating plan. The intent was to maximize the efficiency of the planning process while producing an inclusive and innovative update to the Strategic Plan in under two years.

Since that time, the vast majority of the of the data gathering and analysis has been completed and other planning efforts have been carried out, including updating the Department’s Vision Statement, executing a countywide Needs Assessment, including public outreach and analysis of the information collected, and guided discussions with several Technical Advisory Committees.

Key outcomes include:

·        Updated draft Vision Statement.

·        Identification of emerging themes.

·        Draft Strategic Goals, Strategies and Actions, and

·        Development of a ten-year Integrated Capital and Operating Plan (ICOP) which establishes ten-year CIP project priorities and improves on the traditional CIP planning process by incorporating anticipated impacts to the operating budget.

The ICOP built upon the long range financial forecast prepared by the Department in the lead up to the 2016 renewal and amendment of the Park Charter Fund.  As with the earlier financial analysis, the ICOP shows capital funding resources falling far short ($150M+ over ten years) of anticipated demand.  Through the ICOP, the Strategic Plan Update recommends priorities and attempts to balance the competing needs of renovating aging infrastructure, updating amenities to meet current and anticipated visitor needs, and opening over 10,000 acres of County Parkland to public use, within the context of inadequate resources.  

The Department seeks feedback from the Board regarding these preliminary outcomes and recommendations, and asks for direction regarding whether to leave the plan focused on prioritizing capital needs within existing resources or to establish a goal of identifying options for additional financial support for the Department.  The Department will use the Board’s guidance and direction to inform development of a full draft document and will bring the final document back to the Board in the coming months for final approval.


The recommended action will have no/neutral impact on children and youth.


The recommended action will have no/neutral impact on seniors.


The recommended action will have no/neutral sustainability implications.


The County General Plan provides the basic principles that guide the actions of the Department. The Regional Parks, Trails and Scenic Highways Plan of the County General Plan provides the basic planning vision of "a necklace of parks" for the regional parks, trails and open space system, where this " remains alive as a positive blueprint for meeting current and long-term recreation needs and for preserving portions of our county's unique open space heritage."

In 2003, the original Strategic Plan further refined the vision set forth by the Regional Parks, Trails and Scenic Highways Plan and the Parks and Recreation Element of the General Plan, and outlined a set of strategies and goals for the decade that followed. It established a near-term Action Plan and new priority-setting criteria for vetting capital projects to be incorporated in the formal Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). In 2006, the Department completed an abbreviated update of the Strategic Plan in the form of a CIP Action Plan.

A program to review and update the Strategic Plan, including a financial plan, is intended to be carried out approximately every 10 years; as such, the Department has undertaken this recent effort. The process to develop the 2017/18 Strategic Plan Update has been underway since September 2016. The below outlines work that has been performed to date.

Background Work

Background work for the Strategic Plan Update began in the months prior to the project’s official kick-off which took place in September 2016. During July and August 2016, Department Planning staff reviewed the existing Strategic Plan documents and developed a Scope of Work and formal contract with a consultant team from PlaceWorks, Inc., including subconsultants from 2M Associates and Land Economics Consultants (LEC). Following the kickoff, the consultant team began an intensive review of a variety of internal Department materials, including existing CIP lists and other financial planning resources, General Plan and guiding documents, Master Plans, the previous Strategic Plan, various policies and procedures manuals, etc. External materials consulted included partner visioning, strategic, and financial planning documents such as the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA) Greenprint, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Vision Plan, Joint Venture Silicon Valley’s annual Silicon Valley Index, and the CIP priority-setting processes of similar agencies.

Preliminary Review of Department Mission, Vision, and Capital Needs

Following review of the literature, two Technical Advisory Committee meetings and several Steering Committee meetings were held to discuss the existing Mission, Vision, and CIP process within the Department. The Department recommends retaining the existing Department Mission to “provide, protect and preserve regional parklands for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”  The Department also developed a preliminary revised Vision statement and sub-statements. These preliminary revisions were useful in gaining feedback for the Needs Assessment. Other work that occurred during this phase included review of the Department’s existing priority-setting process for CIP projects and consolidation of various internal project and CIP lists.

Needs Assessment

The Needs Assessment constituted a major portion of the strategic planning process, and included a series of data and information collection efforts performed from January to June 2017.

The first effort was a mapping activity performed primarily via Geographic Information System (GIS) software by Department staff. This was intended to result in a “snapshot” of the existing physical conditions of the Department including inventories of parklands, trails, and facilities, and assessment of their accessibility.

The next focused effort of the Needs Assessment was public outreach. This outreach was performed via several channels, including an online engagement tool [interactive website], live outreach by the project team at five existing regional events throughout the County (i.e., farmer’s market, music festivals, etc.), a public workshop held prior to a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, and lastly, a phone survey of registered voters carried out by the firm EMC Research. Advertisement and outreach informing the public of the engagement tools and live events were through the Department website, e-blasts, social media, Board of Supervisor offices, and our open space and park partners. The total number of participants generated via this outreach was over 1,800 individuals.

Alongside the public outreach effort, the consultant team performed a general market analysis to serve as an informative comparison to the input received from residents. The market research primarily reviewed four publications, including Santa Clara County Parks Annual Activity Report – 2015, Public Opinion Survey Results – 2014 by EMC Research, Outdoor Recreation Participation Report – 2016 by The Outdoor Foundation, and the Survey on Public Opinions and Attitudes on Outdoor Recreation in California – 2012 by the State of California, Natural Resources Agency, and California State Parks.

Another major area of research and analysis as part of the Needs Assessment was that of Customer Demographics. Department Planning staff collected and summarized a considerable amount of data. Data and statistics were gathered from the US Census, California Department of Finance, the American Communities Strategy, and from the County Department of Health and Hospitals.

Lastly, a survey of major trends in Natural and Cultural Resource Preservation was carried out by the project team. In this work, the group looked at existing regional, partner and other planning efforts, as well as publications from the industry. A basic inventory of existing natural and cultural resources within County Parks was documented.

Emerging Themes

Following collection and analysis of the  Needs Assessment data and information, the Department held a series of Technical Advisory Committee meetings to present and discuss the outcomes with internal managers and supervisors, and with key partner agencies, jurisdictions, and other County Departments. The meetings invited discourse around notable emerging themes, focus areas, actions, and goals.

The major emerging themes included the following:

1.     Natural resource protection in the form of landscape-level management

2.     Various implications of a changing population / customer demographics

3.     Importance of Regional Trails Network

4.     Role of climate change and the resilience of parklands for future generations

5.     Importance of planning for fiscal sustainability

6.     Role of technology

7.     Importance of partnerships

8.     Protection, preservation and education of archeological, historical and cultural resources

Revised Vision

Noting the emerging themes and cross-referencing with the visioning work carried out earlier in the strategic planning process, the Department recommends an updated Vision Statement as follows:

We create and manage a sustainable, vibrant system of regional parks and trails where exceptional visitor experiences enrich the human spirit and offer all people the opportunity to connect with the County’s protected natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources.

The updated Vision Statement includes five sub-statements:

Ø     Interconnected and Inclusive

The County of Santa Clara’s parks, trails and natural areas form an interconnected “Emerald Web” that preserves contiguous wildlife habitat and critical linkages and offers equitable access to people throughout the County.

Ø     Enriched Visitor Experience

Santa Clara County Parks acquires parkland and provides high quality facilities and programs that offer an accessible, enjoyable, safe, and educational visitor experience.

Ø     Resource Stewardship

Natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources are acquired, protected and enhanced in balance with the provision of public access and outdoor experiences. Land management practices promote healthy ecosystems that strengthen the region’s resilience to climate change.

Ø     Human Health

The County of Santa Clara’s regional park system provides important human health benefits. Parks provide opportunities to engage in active recreation that enhances physical health. Being in nature reduces stress and renews the human spirit.

Ø     Operational Excellence

By actively embracing innovation, fiscal responsibility, employee engagement, adaptive management practices and collaboration with partners, the Department  serves as a model of excellence in customer service, resource protection, and park management.

For purposes of comparison, the 2003 Vision Statement read:

We create a growing and diverse system of regional parks, trails, and open spaces of Countywide significance that connects people with the natural environment, offers visitor experiences that renew the human spirit, and balances recreation opportunities with resource protection.

Draft Goals

Along with the emerging themes and Vision Statement, a set of nine updated goals has been developed

·        GOAL #1: Protect Natural Resources in the Context of the Greater Region

·        GOAL #2: Meet the Needs of a Diverse Customer Base

·        GOAL #3: Manage the Parks System in a Fiscally Sustainable Manner

·        GOAL #4: Balance the Role of Technology

·        GOAL #5: Elevate the Role of Parks in Improving Human Health

·        GOAL #6: Provide Exceptionally Safe, Welcoming, and Well-Maintained Parks and Trails

·        GOAL #7: Prioritize Core Outdoor Recreational Uses

·        GOAL #8: Demonstrate Leadership in Trail Development and the Provision of Equitable Access

·        GOAL#9: Prioritize Regionally Significant Historical and Cultural Resources

Capital Improvement and Financial Plan

Alongside all the above-named strategic planning work, the Department carried out extensive review of its previous approaches to long-term financial planning. The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) priority-setting process was studied and careful analysis of prior and anticipated fiscal conditions was performed to inform development of an improved financial planning model.

The Park Charter Fund

The primary financial support for the Department is the Park Charter Fund, established in 1972 following voter approval of the Park Charter amendment.  It is a provision in the County’s Charter that sets aside a portion of property tax revenue exclusively for County Park purposes. Since its inception, the Park Charter Fund has historically provided a stable funding source for the Department.

The Park Charter Fund has been renewed seven times since its first approval and has been adjusted over the years, first to respond the fiscal realities following Proposition 13, and later, to shift the allocation of funds to respond to the needs of a growing and aging park system. As the park system has grown, the allocation of funds has shifted from acquisition and growing the park system, to building the park system and amenities, to supporting the operations and maintenance of the regional park system, and finally, to developing and rehabilitating park amenities and infrastructure.

The Park Charter Fund was originally established at 10 cents per $100 of assessed value, and focused largely on funding the acquisition of parkland. In 1986, the Park Charter Fund was reduced to 1.5 cents per $100 assessed value.  Last approved by voters in 2016, with over 78% voting in favor, the Park Charter Fund currently sets aside 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value and dedicates 10% for acquisition, and 10% for capital improvements, with 80% unrestricted.

The Department anticipates approximately $60M in Park Charter Fund revenues for FY2018. The approximately $60M dedicates a minimum of $6M for acquisition and $6M for capital improvements with the remaining $48M unrestricted. A portion of the unrestricted funds are made available for one-time purposes (capital projects and equipment) to help address the significant shortfall in capital resources, while preserving approximately $2M in annual operating budget capacity to address operating needs resulting from the growth of the park system; this reserved capacity is typically allocated to capital projects, equipment, or retained in reserves for future use

The Park Charter revenues are supplemented by approximately $9.5M in operating fees, grants and other revenue sources for a combined $69M annual budget.






The anticipated actual spending is expected to be $7.4M for acquisition, $11.3M for capital improvements, and $53M for the operating budget. 








Constraints on Growth of Operating Budget

Typically, the Parks and Recreation budget operates as a stand-alone fund, living within the means of the Park Charter Fund set-aside and revenues from operations and leases. This creates a relatively stable fiscal environment. Historically, property tax revenues, which feed the Park Charter Fund, have grown at an average rate of about 5% per year, while the cost of salaries, benefits, materials and supplies have risen at an average annual rate of approximately 4%.  This means the Department must take a very conservative approach to managing its annual budget to maintain a cushion between the operating costs and the revenues available to support the system. This cushion provides a hedge in times of economic downturn and the unallocated revenue is typically used as one-time funds to help fill the gap in funding for current or future capital projects and equipment.






Integrated Capital and Operating Plan

As part of the Strategic Plan Update process, the Department worked to develop a new, more comprehensive financial forecasting model. This new model strives to improve project scoping, build upon previous CIP estimates, and better identify the operating budget impacts associated with each project. As such, this new long-range financial planning approach has been titled the Integrated Capital and Operating Plan or ICOP.

During the ICOP development process, rough estimates were developed for all efforts and projects currently included on the Department’s overall workplan. As a result, the Department conservatively identified a need to invest approximately $250M over the next ten years. However, less than $90M in funding resources are currently estimated to be available during that same period. Given that funding will be insufficient to address identified needs to rehabilitate aging infrastructure (sustain), update existing visitor amenities (enhance), and to open remaining County Parkland which is not yet accessible to the public (approximately 10,000 acres or 20% of our landholdings) (expand), the Department ICOP attempts to balance available resources with a focus on rehabilitating aging infrastructure and updating existing facilities.

The charts below illustrate the significant gap, or unfunded need, to address the identified needs of the County’s Regional Park System

The ICOP assumes the Department will live within its existing resources and attempts to balance the competing needs of renovating aging infrastructure, updating amenities to meet current and anticipated visitor needs, and opening over 10,000 acres of County Parkland to public use, within the context of inadequate resources. 

The charts below depict the proposed allocation of anticipated capital funding by project role and category.




Keeping the projected shortfall in view, the Department used the ICOP to plan tentative allocations of funding in alignment with projected resources, and to develop a conservative plan for carrying out the workplan.  The ICOP essentially presents a ten-year framework that establishes priorities within projected resources.  The Department intends to update the ICOP on an annual basis.  The Department expects that as projects move further along in planning and design, costs will change and priorities will shift.  However, the ICOP should allow the Department to keep funding of the long-term capital program at the fore, and it should also help expedite the project delivery process: establishing project scope and priorities within the limits of projected available capital and operating resources.

The chart below shows the major projects that the Department proposes to advance over the coming decade. 

The Department seeks Board input on these tentative priorities as developed during the course of this Strategic Plan Update process, recognizing that actual budget authorization will continue to be accomplished via the Annual Budget process.  The Department also seeks direction regarding whether to leave the Draft Plan focused on prioritizing capital needs within existing resources, or to establish a goal of identifying options for additional financial support for the Department. 

Next Steps

The Department is working to create a 3 to 5-year Action Plan that ties strategic goals with planned capital projects and other Departmental actions that respond to the findings of the Needs Assessment, in concert with anticipated impacts to park operations and maintenance.

The various draft pieces of the Strategic Plan will be compiled in a full draft document and presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee in the coming months with consideration of approval of the final Strategic Plan document by the Board of Supervisors projected for late Spring 2018. 


Without the Board's acceptance of the report, the Parks and Recreation Department would not be able to include Board feedback as it moves forward with completing the update of the Strategic Plan.


Upon processing notify Annie Thomson and Sabine Sander of the Parks and Recreation Department.


·        Strategic Plan Update-Presentation              (PPTX)

·        Strategic Plan Summary of Findings and Key Outcomes              (DOCX)


Meeting History

Feb 27, 2018 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Held to March 6, 2018 at the request of Supervisor Cortese.

RESULT:HELD [UNANIMOUS]Next: 3/6/2018 9:30 AM
MOVER:Mike Wasserman, Supervisor
SECONDER:Ken Yeager, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian
Mar 6, 2018 9:30 AM Video Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting

Taken out of order after Item No. 13.

Three individuals addressed the Board.

Supervisor Cortese requested that Administration report to the Board during the next Parks Department Strategic Plan update with an itemized list of trail gaps and estimated completion timeline; to explore opportunities to collaborate with the private sector; and, to provide an off-agenda report prior to the update relating to an analysis from County Counsel regarding County eligibility to seek developer impact fees as an option to support County parks.

On a motion by President Simitian, seconded by Supervisor Wasserman, the Board approved an amendment to the Parks Department Strategic Plan Vision Statement on a vote of 4-0 with Vice President Chavez abstaining, adding the phrase, "... consistent with responsible resource stewardship," at the end of the total statement.

At the request of Supervisor Yeager, the Board directed Administration to report to the Board on date uncertain relating to potential tax measures that the Board could place on the November 2018 ballot.

The Board approved the item as amended to receive the report; directed Administration to continue to plan to acquire, develop, rehabilitate, and operate the County Park System within the fiscal resources of the Park Charter Fund, plus grants and other funding available from non-County agencies and organizations, with the full participation of the Board of Supervisors as to each acquisition; and, directed Administration to work with County Administration to identify options for County non-Park Charter Fund fiscal support and/or supplemental voter approved funding, at the May 2018 Budget Workshop, including consideration of sequence and priority.

MOVER:Dave Cortese, Supervisor
SECONDER:Ken Yeager, Supervisor
AYES:Mike Wasserman, Dave Cortese, Ken Yeager, S. Joseph Simitian
ABSTAIN:Cindy Chavez


Mar 6, 2018 9:30 AMBoard of SupervisorsRegular Meeting


12:59 PMOur work has been methodical over the last year and a half working with staff. Other park and recreation, open space providers, partners and the general public. The strategic plan update process has involved a logical progression resulting in a list of actions that we are finalizing at this point, but always relating back to the mission and vision and goals of the overall plan. That mission is to provide, protect, and preserve regional parklands for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. Employing a variety of means and methods in doing so. What we have found is that our regional parklands are immense and vibrant. I will use that word. And the parklands trails and facilities are diverse, and clearly add a quality of life amenity to a great number of county residents. As you can see in this slide, it is - - I should say both parklands and trails provide that value added amenity. One of the things we looked at in the evaluation was access to the regional parklands and how that could be enhanced or under stood in developing the strategies for improving that access. We looked at customer demographics to understand the county's growth patterns and user groups and those helped indeed develop and sculpt the strategic plans themes. I think if you'll remember those hluet committee members the diversity of the community we have found is not equally spread throughout the county and that needs to be addressed. The take aways that we identified are on this slide and and provide a clear direction for most of the strategic plan goals and actions that have been developed. Please note that separate types of outreach methods were used. There was a variety of different forms and formats but that both the maintaining existing parklands and stewarding the natural resources of the county parklands are no matter what method was used or identified as extremely important as mentioned by one of the previous speakers. Our regional parklands are not only recreation areas but the quality of the human experience dependent upon a landscape that supports the diversity of wild life and other environmental benefits. The strategic plan is readily or I should say intrinsically included and integrated into the valley habitat plan which the county has a major role in implementing. Of are on our regional parklands and the facilities in them remind and educate residents about our heritage and what it means to look forward rather than just remembering the past. There are ten emerging themes that have been identified from our needs analysis. These generally have to do with change. Change in the customer base, and continuing the park department's legacy mission of stewardship, of resources and fiscal responsibility relative to the park charter fund. Based on those themes, a vision statement draft vision statement I should say has been developed for regional park lands and for the administration, recreation, and services within the department. Nine overall goals. Some aspirational and some core service goals have been identified. As we informed the hluet committee members last fall, this strategic plan update is different than the 2003 strategic plan in that it strives to go beyond establishing and verifying general admission and goals and also to insure that fiscal expenditures of the department are targeted in a responsible way through an integrated capital unoperating plan or icop. How the department over expenditures to accomplish as much as possible while showing the shortfalls and illustrating the shortfalls involved. As does this slide identified in general terms the proportion of the 10-year icop assigned to different strategic areas with most of that going to benefit the visitor experience so the budget direction to use for available fiscal resources wisely involves maintaining and enhancing what we have, adding low intensity, therefore low-cost access, and seriously prioritizing stewardship activities. Cost recovery to the extent practical will also be important. Please note that the updated parkland acquisition plan that you adopted five years ago is also incorporated into this plan. That strategy to balance providing regional outdoor recreation and interpretive opportunities in a variety of landscapes while also providing over time a stronger interconnectivity between urban populations and regional parks. Importantly the parkland acquisition plan emphasizes partnerships in completing the county wide trail network which essentially is a linear park system to link urban recreation opportunities with regional park resources. This slide illustrates the waiting of expenditures as a percentage as participated for the various programs of the department. Again with the majority going to visitor experiences. The general public, if you will. A little bit hard to read because of the size of some of the type, but this graphic illustrates by selected park unit the major priorities of the department for the next ten years that will be presented in the final strategic plan. So it's really continuing and updating existing projects that are on the books or will be moving forward. We look forward to finalizing the strategic plan update and bringing it back to you in the near future for adoption. This will allow the department to continue its work within its existing fiscal resources. As noted in the staff report, we welcome the board's direction in working with the county administration to identify options to address the gap in funding that this planning process has identified. We look forward to answering any of your questions. Thank you.
1:08 PMThank you, president simitian. first of all, I want to thank, um, the entire panel for all the extra work I guess you would call it extra work that was done, reponding to questions from my office, particularly with examples of unfunded projects, more pickly and explanations as to why indeed it is difficult to prioritize or put in some sort of real sequence what should be done first, and what should be done later, for example. I think some of those are subjective decisions, and some of them are just - - there's no bad project, at least that's my interpretation of some of the response we got. But I appreciate the thoroughness with which your responses came. This is a 6-page spreadsheet I assume was distributed to everyone in part response to questions I generated in my office. One of the things - - so this is in the form of a question. One of the things that's not on here you pointed out in the slides is a county wide trail system and there are internal to parks I think listed in some of the other documents here what committees would look at on a county wide baze, but I don't see those numbers anywhere or those projects listed specifically and i'm just wondering when you showed the totals at the end have you tried to extrapolate what the totals are for all of that? I mean, this obviously huge presumably huge acquisition cost numbers there I assume many of which haven't been appraised yet. I know many people haven't done a lot of work down there between the regional folks and the sub-regional folks like vta.
1:11 PMUm, thanks for the opportunity to answer the question. page three lists the county wide trails master plan program. We didn't try to put dollar amounts because of the scope in many instances certainly in that project it would be difficult to describe. We previously reported there are several hundred miles of regional trails yet to be constructed in that plan. Current costs, you know, are somewhere in the three to four million dollars a mile to construct and sometimes in equal mount right away for the acquisition. So it's not hard to see this running into hundreds of millions of dollars if you wanted to build out the rest of the system. Certainly the mount of funding we proposing within the limits of the park charter fund is small compared to what we will need. Might have a million dollars a year to put towards that project. That overall plan and program over time which can be used to either construct a trail portions that are controlled by the county or could be used to incentivize some of our partners to do some critical gap closure work. It would certainly be a small portion of the overall need and much of the success of that program is going to be reliant on other sources, the vta measure that passed recently, individual cities, and the work that they do. If we can ever get the federal government to include alternative transportation in a more significant way and some of the transportation bills I think those are the pathways along with if we went to the voters you could certainly include something with the regional trails system as well.
1:13 PMThrough the chair, thank you for that. thank you for pointing out where that was on page three and what I wasn't clear on what that particular item was referring to but you pointed that out. I do think at some point we need to - - I think it's part of our responsibility whether we largely plagiarize or pull any information from folks that have that information like vta or the regional entities to make sure that we are itemizing that in our strategic plan, what those actual gaps are, where they are. We hear it a lot as supervisors from constituents, you know, when are you going to close the three creek trails gap, or when are you going to close the along the bay to the border or when are you going to close the gap that leads to google? the current google. I just think it's part of the sun shiny process. I get it. We've got relatively limited funds to deal with that in the park trust fund but then part of what you're asking for, of course in the item today is an opportunity to look at other funding sources besides the park trust fund in the future and I think you're asking how does - - feel about that and what kind of feedback we'd give you. Part of the feedback i'd give on this county wide trail master plan is that there's potentially private sector dollars there. We heard the term private sector private public partnerships all the time as long as i've been in elected office it's been an aspirational thing. Check as down payment money to the county for closing gaps that lead between roughly san jose in the mountain view bay side border because they're land locked because they actually have a bicycle culture. They want to try to expand on that but there's connectivity problems there so I just wanted to - - I wanted to put it out there, there's one case where public-private partnerships can actually be very real. I won't get into the reasons why that million dollar check wasn't deposited into someone's bank account, politics as they are but let's just say it was prior to 2014 that offer was made and there were a lot of other things going on politically. They made it clear if we can't connect and get workers in and out of our campus we're going to be looking for alternatives somewhere else. I suspect when the community benefits analysis and all the rest of the analysis happen around the downtown site when that happens one of the subjects is going to come up is how do you get people in and out and how are we those same connections are going to be in play again. It's going to be all about how do you get someone from santa clara over to downtown san jose on a bicycle. You know, um, given 20,000 jobs or whatever it is that they're planning downtown. It's just an example. I'm just giving an example of a private sector, a large private sector entity to put it mildly who's interested in helping out if there's government cooperation and if there's government match involved. I think one of the things is seems like the transportation agencies oftentimes just don't have. They're struggling with their own budget so I do think we also need to identify it because we need identify ourselves as a real potential partner just like we did with hcp and other things when it came right down to it if the county wasn't involved you know probably nothing's going to happen. As little as our resources are we at least have something to contribute to some of those president obama problems or challenges. So thank you for that. I don't really have other questions per se, but I do have comments when we do get to the point of a motion, if i'm not the one making the motion, i'm certainly go to ask the maker of the motion under item b of the recommendations to make sure that there's words like the following - - with the full participation of the board of supervisors as to each acquisition. One of the things that we don't have and really never have had is a public mapping of what our target acquisitions are, where they are, and there's reasons for that. Is am times price, and terms discussions need to start happening before we start identifying properties we're going to go after. Mr. Courtney, I commend your watch for really involving and engaging the board of supervisors early and often before proceeding down that path, utilizing the tools we are available to us like closed session discussions that hasn't always been the case and I just want to make sure the language - - I know this language wasn't written to try to ask for a delegation of authority relative to acquisitions, to continue the plan to acquire develop rehabilitate and so forth, that's certainly fell short of delegation language, but I also want to make hour that it's under stood that the board isn't disengaging - - but to be fully in step with you. Not just on these days, you know when we bring every so often when we bring the park strategy in, you know, the idea is not just that you go away and thank you very much and this is now the gospel and as long as you stay within those lines or those strategic objectives and you just go do whatever you want and vent us with a complete at the end. I think I former map one suspect the rest of the board would like to be involved. You know, early in that process so that we can make - - so that we can prioritize. Prioritization is going to be a big deal. And then under c, um, I want to make sure, and this is as much directed to the county executive as anyone else, that if we're going to adopt language that looks like item c here, that we add to it that discussion is brought back in the May study sessions, including the discussion as to how we want to prioritize general fund dollars relative to all of our - - to all of our agencies and aspirations because I don't really know as I sit here today where this board would put park funding that isn't coming from grants and isn't coming from the trust fund, but it's coming from perhaps trying to leverage general funds how it stacks up against the health and hospital system, public safety system, reform of our jails all the priorities we are trying to advance at this time. I worked hard to make sure that the last trust fund measure went to the ballot and succeeded at the ballot. Probably not a week goes by that I don't brag about the fact we have a 38,000-acre park system and it's really important to me. I just don't know and don't think it's fair to all of you to proceed without a little bit more of a granular discussion as to where do you really line up as a department in terms of the board of supervisors priorities for discretionary funding out of the general fund particularly? Maybe today isn't the day to do that, but when we sit down for study sessions three, four hours at a time would be a better time to maybe have you work something up, Dr. Smith, as what you think those principles, how those priorities line up and then ask us for feedback at that time.
1:22 PMYeah. um, thank you, supervisor. Maybe I can clarify from the county executive perspective. We won't come back to the board asking for general fund subsidy of the county parks system unless the board specifically asks us for that because in order to do that you're going to have to cut something else and we think we're basically at the bottom of the barrel. But if today you were to say as a board open up the general fund to the parks fund then we would have to reconsider that, obviously but we would strongly recommend against it because we have many, many, many unmet needs and the next one will be the roads department, and then everything else you can think of. And we just don't have the money to do it. Certainly we don't have 250 million to complete the strategic plan without outside reorses so we obviously let the park department make their case. We're not going to tell them they can't make their case but we don't ever intend to have a budget recommendation where money goes from the general fund to the park charter fund.
1:24 PMLast comment and I appreciate you saying the board orders that up and part of my thinking is we have in the past over time ordered up some multimillion dollar investments in parks through the general fund. We have some pending right now. I'm not saying that to contradict you. They're still small dollars relative to the general trust fund. But at some had point if I was on their side of the panel over there, i'd be thinking is there more of that coming at some point? Is there board of supervisors going to continue down this path lining one of our former supervisor was trying to do at one point in time of more suburban connections to park trails. Mouramentation of what cities are doing. Or are they - - is this very low priority for the board because of other commiements along the longs of what you just said? I just think everyone deserves to have that discussion at some point. Not that I disagree with your initial analysis.
1:25 PMRight. >> I can't order up work in the budget process all obey myself, but perhaps if other board members want to see that analysis come forward you could get it done for us. Thank you.
Supervisor yeager, and then i'm going to invite myself to the party. >> thank you for the report and thank you for the jumbo-sized chart on the projects that are projected for the trails for the county parks. Just to follow up a little bit on supervisor cortese's line of questions, I understand that the need is great I don't know if rob, this is something that you would do or if jeff, you would do, but whether we're looking a -t a certain type of tax measure that would go on the ballot that's one of the thoughts that comes to mind. We know there's going to be a number of things on the November ballot so we May not want to put more things on that, but I want to explore what other options might be there for revenue. I think there's so much is support in the public as we know for our parks overwhelming majority in support of the renewal of the charter fund. Maybe there's other ways we could ask the public for funding. I don't think we know exactly what that would look like, but have it come back to general discussion. Also, if you could on slide. 15b, the access to parks slide. One thing that has concerned us and it maybe is a little different from the master plan is how many people actually get to get to enjoy the parks? I think the thing that's a little misleading to that chart is that you're including some county parks that are very near large urban areas and so it seems like a greater number of the population might be close to those parks. It just takes a lot more effort to get there. Trying to make it easier and do activities that bring people in the parks. The whole thing about the trail system two different things but maybe there's eve an way to try to come up with a map where you can get from point a to point b on bike or car or walk so you can sort of explore more of these parks. Obviously, fixing the park is great. It certainly is a great way to promote the parks and I because able to visit some of the parks i'd never been to before and to be able to put them on facebook and let people know. I just think we need ta little bit more attention to telling people about the parks, but also make it easier to get to, particularly for people who May not have a car, might have language issues. I think once they go out there and explore it they'll appreciate what we have. And there is a little bit of a conflict in some of our goals. One is to reserve open space, but often that open space is very far from where people live and yet we also have a goal to get people to use the trails and build more trails but but if they can't get to the park, they can't use the trails. It's just something we need to look at. It was interesting the different staff desires and outcomes and the ones that you got from the public are a little different. It certainly seems that the add new parks and trails and facilities were a little more high-rated in the workshops than it was by the staff. And I can sort of understand that. And so as we begin to look at what kind of projects we might want to prioritize as we go along, maybe pay just a little bit more attention that. So what's the plan now? You go back and fine tune this a little bit more and come back with the final about when?
1:30 PMUh, yes, that's correct. we're. Based on the direction that we get from you today, that will help us fine-tune the plan and the recommendations. It will go to the prc this bring and then early this spring, and then come back to you ideally later this spring. So that's our current anticipated timeframe. Supv simitian: supervisor yeager, later this spring meaning before our July 1 recess?
That is our hope, yes. supv simitian: thank you, excuse the interruption. Supv yeager: thank you. Do you see you sort of prioritizing some of the projects that you have is the cost as high as we're looking at or are some things nice to have but not essential? So we May get a better idea of overall costs and where we might want to go searching for some of those dollars?
1:31 PMYou know, I think that the 10-year plan a projection is probably a better term. at this point it's rough and preliminary and we presented it with less than some of the detail that supervisor cortese was asking about because we see it as preliminary and we wanted you to understand the types of decisions and the general sorts of approaches that we would probably take to a scope and scale that far exceeds the resources available. And then to see, okay, live 1 your means, maintain what you have. That gives us direction in terms of how to focus that. Then we bring it back with a little more granularity over time. The priorities in timing and scope will shift over time. But we wanted to be able to understand what the overall needs are and set those priorities and this was our chance to come talk to you and say this is what we think we would focus on and what do you want to do about the resources.
1:32 PMThank you. sand born, bike park, what's going on? I hope that was direct enough.
1:33 PMThat's very direct. um, we have - - we can provide you with a lot of details information I would briefly summarize it to say that several years ago we were approached by several mountain biking organizations continually asking for a place to build a bike park. Eventually the silicon valley bikers came to us and said we'd like to find a spot to build one. We talked and said there's this old christmas tree farm but we don't understand what it is you're talking about building. So if you'd like to bring a proposal back to for us to evaluate, we can understand how that might fit into the parks system - - . Eventually the plan would need to go through the overall public planning process. So at this point it's a proposal primarily from an outside group. Part of the role of the parks system is to take care of most of our uses, hiking and picnicking. But we also are home to specialized ucsds. So there's a los gatos rowing club that many years ago said we'd like to build a prays to do some rowing and they put together a proposal which we helped them evaluate and a decision was made coming before the board to give them a spot on lexington reservoir. We have a dog training facility in coyote creek. We have hang gliders. We have a lot of these special uses and that's the way we look at it. There was some comments earlier today that we were looking at it as a way to generate revenue, which is not correct. The initial discussion with the mountain bikers was that we don't have the resources to one, construct this, or two, to add a bunch of staff to operate it. So part of your responsibility is to come up with a proposal that doesn't break the bank on either side, and to come up with responsible operating regiment for that.
1:35 PMThank you. >> I have a motion I want to make today sort of separate and apart from what's contained in the referral to our board today. I was struck about the comment of vibrant. Who knew it could be such a controversial word. I knew, and the reason was because as someone who has made his home in palo alto for a very long period of time over the years i've heard two different descriptions of the same downtown. There are some who describe it as vibrant, they usually mean that as a positive thing. There are others who describe the same downtown as franetic, and they don't mean that as a positive thing. What I have observed over the years is is that one person's vibrant is another person's frenetic and we need to have a little sensitivity on understanding that. I want to associate myself with supervisor cortese's remarks about the importance of this board being engaged, aware of, involved and in a decision-making role about acquisitions going forward. I thinker frankly in some respects it's a little hard to deal with a strategic plan here without connecting the two in a way that's more direct and tangible than what we have in front of us today. I think we do have not only the prerogative, but the responsibility of elected officials, all due respect to the professional staff the obligation to not let this go on auto pilot at the staff level. I want to under score that I look forward to seeing these issues here in a timely fashion for board engagement and involvement. Other than auto pilot because we have a 10-year protection or plan in place. I also think we've observed in the past and you all have been very much involved in this, there are going to be moments in time where you say there's a unique opportunity and if we let it slip by we can't reclaim the unique opportunity. That could be with respect to a particularly prime piece of property in terms of an acquisition. So I just think it's great to have a plan. It's also important to be flexible when circumstances suggest. Just to throw fear into the heart of everyone in the room, what happens if the folks say one day we're done. Going to walk away. And then, you know, do we start to think about all right, there's a reclamation plan. But so what, what else? you know, I don't see that happening any time soon. But when the unexpected happens we need to be flexible enough to pivot and have a conversation about all right, what are the opportunities and/or the challenges that are here? I want to go back to the mountain bike park. I think, and I would have said this based - - without the comments - - I think the public trust is not there right now. It's not a criticism, it's not a laying of responsibility or blame, it's just a statement of what I think is fact. The public trust is not there right now. We're government entity. You all know that we have to be 100% transparent. I think clearly the feeling is that that has not been the case. Whether or not you think that's the fact, I would say the feelings are facts that we have to deal with so I just want to encourage the folks at parks to work to rebuild the trust that I think has been damaged by the process thus far. I think that's going to take some time and effort, and I just want to go on record as saying we need to see that. The other thing is I do think we could be more clearer, more explicit about our resource stewardship obligations in this endeavor and I sympathize with the fact that you described different interested parties. One of the things our parks try to be all things to all people. You've got folks more interested in accurate recreation, resource stewardship and we're trying to figure out is there a way to accommodate a all of that, balance that sensitively. As I look at the vision statement, I think it is light on resource stewardship. Vern i'm just going to ask if our bleed gave you direction today by three votes for an amendment to that would that be something you could take back is and incorporate in your work going forward?
1:40 PMWe could certainly look at ways to strengthen the language round that. I would say that.
Let me be more direct.
You want to provide one? >> I want to provide one and see if I can get three votes. if I can't, I can't. if I can, I want to tell you what to do on the vision statement. So I was looking to the county executive and to you to tell me if we give you direction, can we fold that in and get that done?
We can certainly amend the plan, yes.
Colleagues, if you look at packet page 62, the language says we create and manage a sustainable vibrant system of regional parks and trails where exceptional visitor experiences enrich the human spirit and - - all people to connect with the county's natural cultural historic and scenic resources. I am wondering if after we have the opening language about we create and manage a sustainable vibrant system of regional parks and trails, where exceptional visitor experiences - - and so on. If we could insert the language we create and manage a sustainable vibrant system of regional parks and trails where - - enrich the human spirit and offer all people to connect. . . Blah, blah, blah, if we added the final phrase after a comma, consistent with responsible resource stewardship. Because i'm pretty sure parks doesn't want to do anything that's inconsistent with responsible resource stewardship. But I think the lack of commitment to resource is stewardship in the vision statement of all places would be an unfortunate oversight. I'm going to offer that as a motion to direct staff to incorporate the language consistent with responsible resource stewardship.
1:41 PMThen at the end of the total statement?
1:42 PMYeah, I think that's a convenient place to put it, but if somebody wanted to put it in the middle, i'm flexible enough to accommodate that. Mr. Wasserman? supv wasserman: it's all open to interpretation, so consistent with responsible - - we're not defining what responsible is at this, we're not saying where or not it is vibrant, we're just using that sentence, your additional half dozen words at the end of what currently exists on the top of packet page 62. Supv simitian: that is correct. Supv wasserman: okay. Supv simitian: and changing nothing else. I'm know going to call that a second, supervisor wasserman, is that fair? I'll move that we add those six words, five words - - consistent with responsible resource stewardship. I have a second from Mr. Wasserman. supv cortese: are we not yet voting on the recommended action on item 15? supv simitian: that's correct. I've offered a motion sort of in addition to whatever action we take on the other item. But before I voted on the other items, if I was going to be providing direction on, uh, on these other items I wanted to know that the fundamental vision statement was one that I could support and I won't know what that is until after we take a vote on this item. So I would be calling for a vote on the recommended actions on packet page 57 as soon as we complete this vote and thank you forgive me if I did not make that clear. It's why I was asking the clerk if we could use the screen for this vote.
1:44 PMAnd do supervisor wasserman's point - - the vision statement was long on vibrant and people and opportunities foo come and in short on resource stewardship. This is the language page 6 of 13 in the staff memo packet page 62. And the revised vision is at the top of that page and I am offering this 5-word revision to the revision. All votes have been cast so we'll ask the clerk to tally the role, and we have a vote of 4-0 with one abstention. The motion carries and that is is a direction now from our board ta our staff who was delighted to see it because they asked for direction and now they have it so thank you for that. Then now we have other motions possible at this time. Recommended actions on packet page 57. Clerk, clear the screen, and if possible to post another - - there we go. This is on the strategic plan update. Supv cortese: see if I can get the support here and that would be to move 15a, b, and c, and to add under d with the phrase the full participation of the board of supervisors as to each acquisition, and under item c just simply add after approved funding after those two words add at the May study session that would also include sequence and priority. One other request for information I have that is the motion, but I have request for information that needs to be included in the motion, that would be that we include an analysis from county counsel as to whether or not we are eligible to seek developer impact fees as a way to support our parks. I know there are legal issues I think it would be timely to get that analysis off-agenda before this comes back and we assess different options. Supv simitian: all right we have a motion. I'm going to ask you to make a motion on that screen. And it has been made. We have a second now from supervisor yeager, thank you. Any other comments? Supv yeager: yes, briefly, although I think it's incorporated under c, but just to reiterate getting a report back on potential tax measures that we could put on the ballot in november. Supv simitian: supervisor cortese, that's agreeable to you as the maker and there's no objection from other members of the board. We have a motion by cortese, a second by yeager, it is the recommended action contained in packet page gave with additional language - - 57 with additional language for items b and c. All members having voted is ask the clerk to tally the role and show the vote. And we have a 4-0-1 abstention that measure carries. Thank you very much. Thank you. And thank you to housing land use environment and transportation for their work on this and to our consulting team as well. thank you all.
1:48 PMMr. President. supv simitian: yes.
One comment for future consideration, I don't want to suggest the board should take it up today, but in the past there have been questions concerns, issues about whether the park department should become interested in so-called urban parks and also on the other spectrum of the options whether we should become interested in purely purchasing open space that's not actually utilized as a park. Some day in the future - - . Supv chavez: part of the reason I was abstaining from these votes is i've been - - Dr. Smith is reacting to something i've been really struggling with, better understanding. I abstained because I have concerns that we haven't addressed either of those issues and I haven't given you all very thoughtful feedback about how to do that. As I was looking at the staff presentation, I listening to it today, what I realized is that some of the points that have been raised by my colleagues to kind of touch on these issues but I don't feel like I have heard enough from the community yet to say here are the concrete things I want to work on. As you continue to do your work, we'll probably write something up. I'll send is to my colleagues just to give you feedback about my own thinking about that. Thank you. Supv simitian: all right. Thank you very much. Then looking to the clerk, I believe that takes us to item 17. Item 16 has been continued. Item number 17 is the surveillance annual report. I don't want to curtail conversation or participation. However, if board members would like, I could simply request the ceo and the county counsel to come up with a calendar to get us through the outstanding use policies which I think is something we need to sort of map out for the futurer and say let's figure it out. And then offer a motion which would make the necessary findings and receive these annual reports. And frankly, I would also put on the record the fact that I think as we've been at this for a little while now the reports are getting better and better and people are doing a good job in trying to address the legitimate expectations. I'm going to take that with no phrases whatsoever Mr. Yeager. the team has been very patient about waiting so I don't want to cut you off if there are things you'd like to present. But other wise I am prepared to move the recommended actions on packet page 144. I'm going to lean in and do just that. I think supervisor yeager is going to lean in, he has. Is there anything you'd like us to know? Or you've suddenly had a change of heart and don't want us to approve these recommendations would probably be a good time to let us do that?
1:51 PMI'll lean in and let you know if you have any questions we are happy to have you approve all three possible actions.
As I is say i'm essentially moving these items with the further request that the ceo and county counsel come up with a calendar and we have findings that we are obliged to make. That is 5-0. A measure passes. Gentlemen, you've been calm compelling in your advocacy today. Thank you for being with us. That takes us to item number 18, previously removed from the consent calendar. At this point, there are none. So item number 19 would be to adjourn to our next regularly scheduled meeting. In the absence of any objection, seeing and hearing and expecting none, we stand adjourned.