When Pacific Palisades residents requested Quimby Funds to help pay for a dog park environmental review, so that they could start fundraising, they were told not yet.
Right now, it appears that Quimby money may be like monopoly money—not available to be used in real life, at least not in the Palisades.
Lis Cahill, Councilman Mike Bonin’s field deputy, told Circling the News in a January 21 email, t “Our office is working with RAP [Recreation and Parks] on a districtwide strategy to maximize the benefit Quimby Funds can offer parks on the Westside. Regarding specific past Quimby allocations, please contact Darryl Ford at RAP for the most up-to-date information.”
Quimby money ($92,000) that was originally slated for Pacific Palisades will now be split among requests from Mar Vista, Venice, Brentwood, Westchesterr and other Rec Centers in CD 11–and Bonin will decide the priorities.
Quimby funds are fees that developers must pay to cities, such as Los Angeles, that can be used to purchase and develop land and/or recreational facilities. The bill was passed in the State Assembly in 1975. It was specified that the revenues generated could not be used for operation or maintenance and had to be used in the area where the money was generated.
In 1982, the Act was amended to hold local governments accountable for imposing park development fees. Cities and counties were required to be more accountable. The money collected was only to be used only for community park and recreation facilities reasonably related to the development.
In September 2015, the Quimby Act was further amended (AB 1191) by the Assembly to authorize a city with a population of 3 million or more to commit interest earned on or before January 1, 2016, on fees charged pursuant to that act, until January 1, 2021. The City could use the interest fees outside of the area they were collected provided there was a public hearing first.
That amendment also specified that the fees collected have to be committed within five years after the payment.
The L.A. City Council sprang into action with Ordinance 184,505 (Parks Dedication and Fee Update ordinance) that increased fees starting in 2017. The ordinance requires most residential projects that create new dwelling units or joint living and work quarters to dedicate land or to pay a fee for the purpose of developing park and recreational facilities.
Not only did that City Council ordinance raise Quimby fees (which now included apartment buildings—before it was only for condos and housing developments), it now allows Quimby fees to be spent on parks as far as 10 miles away. Money generated from Pacific Palisades could be spent in Venice, for example.
In a September 2016 L.A. Times story (“First Change to Developer Fees in 30 Years Could Bring in $40 Million More for L.A. Parks”), Mike Eveloff, president of the Westwood Recreation Center’s Park Advisory Board said, “There could be a project on the border of Santa Monica and Los Angeles and it could be used for an L.A. River project, which doesn’t really mitigate the local impacts.”
In the amended AB 1191, the City must show that if it uses the money in a neighborhood different than where the money is generated, there must be a public hearing, and that in the reasonably foreseeable future, inhabitants of the subdivision for which the fee is imposed will use the proposed park and recreational facilities in the neighborhood where the fees are used.
If Bonin determines that Palisades Quimby funds of $92,000 are to be used for the Venice Pier project, for example, will that prove beneficial to Palisades residents? Or would local residents be better served by a dog park and new playground equipment at the Palisades Rec center?
Recreation and Parks Commissioner Joe Halper (a Palisadian) wrote to a Quimby specialist, asking for clarification on spending Quimby funds and its accumulated interest. Circling the News is waiting for an answer.