Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(A) This chapter may be referred to as the “Parks and Open Space Ordinance” or “Parkland Ordinance” or “Parkland Code” (herein referred to as “code,” “chapter” or “parkland ordinance”), and is adopted pursuant to the provisions of Iowa Code Chapters 18B, 354 and 414, and any and all other relevant chapters or provisions of the Code of Iowa.
(B) In accordance with its Comprehensive Plan and to implement the Plan, the city has adopted a zoning ordinance to regulate the use of land, size and configuration of land parcels; height and bulk of buildings; locations and uses of buildings and structures; size of yards and open spaces; density of population; and other matters to lessen congestion in the streets; secure safety from fire, flood, panic and other dangers; promote public health and general welfare; provide adequate light and air; protect life and property from flooding; prevent the overcrowding of land and avoid undue concentrations of population; facilitate the provision of adequate streets, pedestrianways, water, sewerage, drainage, schools, parks and other public needs; preserve the natural environment and the character of the city and its neighborhoods; and to conserve property values throughout the city.
(C) (1) The development of land must be regulated to ensure that new developments conform to and implement the city’s Comprehensive Plan and the purposes of its zoning ordinance. The City Council has therefore adopted subdivision and site plan ordinances to prescribe minimum standards that are intended to ensure that new developments are properly designed in accordance with professional standards, and properly improved to provide all of the new and additional facilities and infrastructure that will benefit and be needed by the new residents and occupants of such developments.
(2) The subdivision ordinance also is an expression of the City Council’s intent to have the costs for said new facilities and infrastructure to be equitably apportioned on the basis of the additional needs that are created by each new development, so new developments will not usurp the existing services and infrastructure that have been provided for and financed by existing taxpayers, or necessitate the expenditure of public funds collected from existing resident taxpayers to provide additional facilities and infrastructure that benefit the residents and occupants of new developments.
(D) Each and every existing public facility and piece of infrastructure has a finite capacity, whether it be a sewer, water main, street, fire station, school, playground or other recreational facility, park, open space area, floodplain, treatment plant or other facility or infrastructure. Through the virtues of sound planning and continual investment, the city’s existing resident taxpayers have customarily provided significantly more than the minimum capacities that are required by the existing population of resident taxpayers, in order to assure the public’s health and safety and freedom from threat or crisis; provide a high level of public services for their personal benefit; and to attain and maintain a high quality of life for their personal benefit.
(E) The city has found through studies, preparation, and adoption of its Comprehensive Plan and its Parks and Open Space Plan, that the needs of its existing resident taxpayers for public parks and open spaces have been met and continue to be met due its considerable and ongoing annual investments in improvements, maintenance, upkeep and repairs, and operations of its existing public parks and open space system.
(F) New residential developments are being added within the city and many new homes are being erected and occupied annually within the new developments. It is generally understood and accepted that the new streets, sewers, water mains, sidewalks and other facilities and infrastructure that adjoin each lot within a new development directly benefit and increase the value of the lot. The new streets, et al., would not be needed if not for the creation of and subsequent building on and occupancy of said lots, and the lots could not be built upon, occupied and used if such new facilities and infrastructure were not constructed in conjunction with and as part of the new development. Accordingly, it is found to be reasonable and proper for the developers of new developments to bear the full costs for such new facilities and infrastructure, and the developers are expected to pass such full costs passed on to the purchasers and occupants of the lots in the new developments, as part of the lots’ purchase price.
(G) Developers and the purchasers/occupants of lots in new developments are less cognizant of and may be unwilling to recognize or acknowledge the full benefits and increased value that the new developments derive from the service capacities being provided by existing public facilities and infrastructure that may not be located within or near a new development, and that may not exclusively serve a single new development. Each new development generates new users, and each new user consumes a portion of the existing capacities of such off-site facilities and infrastructure at a rate that usually is at least commensurate to that of the existing resident taxpayers. Any single new user will not overwhelm the existing capacity of any of the city’s off-site facilities and infrastructure and cause catastrophic failure, especially given that more than the minimum capacities required by the existing resident taxpayers has been created and maintained by said existing resident taxpayers for their personal benefit and quality of life. Nonetheless, each new user of existing facilities and infrastructure does usurp existing service capacity and infrastructure that had been provided for and financed by existing resident taxpayers for their own benefit and enjoyment, and thereby deprives the existing resident taxpayers of benefits they had paid for and previously enjoyed.
(H) (1) As new developments continue to be created, eventually any and all available capacity of the existing off-site facilities and infrastructure will be usurped by the purchasers and occupants of the new developments. Although additional facilities and capacities may not become necessary solely because of the added use by any one new user or development, they do become necessary because of the cumulative effect of numerous additional users generated by a progression of new developments over an indefinite period of time. Additional facilities and expansions of infrastructure capacities inevitably become necessary to restore the level of benefits previously enjoyed by existing resident taxpayers: said additional facilities and capacities would not be necessary if not for the new residents and occupants of new developments.
(2) Therefore, the City Council finds that it is found to be fair, reasonable and appropriate for each and every developer of each and every new development to bear the fair share of the costs for new off-site facilities and additional infrastructure capacities that are or will be made necessary by the purchasers/occupants of each and every new development; for the costs of maintaining or restoring the previously existing benefits that are usurped from existing resident taxpayers to be fully accounted for in the sales prices of parcels in the new development; and for such new facilities and infrastructure to be added without creating costs or other burdens of any kind on the existing resident taxpayers. The City Council also finds that it is appropriate for such infrastructure capacity to be provided as part of, and in conjunction with, the design and improvement of each new development when it is created, to replace the existing capacity that has been or will be consumed as soon as possible, in order to minimize the burden and inconvenience that new developments impose on existing resident taxpayers.
(I) As with all other existing public facilities and infrastructure, existing public parks and open spaces have a finite capacity that is usurped by the occupants of new residential developments and that create needs for additional public open space and parks, both land for such facilities and for park infrastructure improvements thereto. Therefore, the City Council finds it reasonable and appropriate for additional public park and open space facilities and capacities to be provided by each and every new development, in the same manner that other public infrastructure is required to be provided in new developments by the subdivision and site plan ordinances, in order to maintain the existing, adequate level of public open space and park facilities within the city, and to prevent the residents of new developments from usurping existing public parks and open spaces from resident taxpayers.
(J) The acquisition of land that is suited for use as public parks and open space, of sufficient size, shape, character and location, is the most-critical goal that must be achieved in order to provide an adequate supply of appropriate public neighborhood parks and open spaces that can meet the residents of new developments, and mitigate their impacts on existing facilities and lands. Such land should primarily be within or in close proximity to the new residential developments that they are intended to serve, while remaining mindful to the suitability of the available land and to the ability to provide more and better recreational opportunities on a single, larger parcel of land than on two or more smaller parcels of the same cumulative area. Once sufficient land has been obtained, the next goal will be the construction or installation of improvements to the new park or open space that will fulfill the most basic recreational and park needs of a broad spectrum of new users of all ages and abilities, while at the same time showing a bias towards serving youthful new users in most cases.
(K) This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate, annul, impair or interfere with any existing easements, covenants, deed restrictions, agreements, ordinances, rules, regulations or permits previously adopted or issued pursuant to law. However, wherever this chapter imposes greater restrictions or requirements, the provisions of this chapter shall govern.
(L) The provisions of this chapter shall be interpreted and applied as minimum requirements, shall be liberally construed in favor of the city, and shall not be deemed a limitation or repeal of any other power granted by the Code of Iowa.
(M) If a section, clause, provision or portion of this chapter is adjudged unconstitutional, or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall not affect the remainder of this chapter.