Assembly Bill 1359 authored by Assembly member Roger Hernández (D-West Covina) passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on a 5-2 vote. This bill amends the Quimby Act to allow local governments to allocate existing funds, used for the purpose of developing facilities, to areas within the local government that are most in need. This bill also allows for funds to help establish joint use agreements between school districts, universities, counties and cities.
“By providing additional open space for our children, they will live a more healthy and productive life in their communities,” said Hernández. “This bill gives local governments the opportunity to provide areas in need the quality of life they deserve,” stated Hernández.
Since the passage of the Quimby Act in 1975, cities and counties have been authorized to require developers to set aside land, donate conservation easements, or pay fees for park improvements. Those funds were initially set aside in the area undergoing development. Low-income communities and communities of color suffer the most from disparities in access to green space and from health and social problems that stem from such inequities. In 2011, the City Project released a study which found many areas in California and in particular Los Angeles County can be considered park poor. “Park poor” defined in California law refers to any geographic are that provides less than three acres of green space per 1,000 residents.
“As the construction of homes begins to increase in our state once again, this bill will also provide partnerships with not only local school districts, but with universities, counties and others to provide this much needed green space,” said Hernández.
AB 1359 moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.