Park fees simplified for high-rises

The City Council recently agreed to a new citywide parkland fee charged to new homes that includes a “Downtown Core Area Highrise” category.’


The city has charged parkland in-lieu fees since 1992 to meet the demand for park lands generated by new residential development.  In recent years, the City Council carved out a parkland in-lieu fee discount for downtown high-rise residential, which served as an incentive for a maximum 2,564 high-rise units to be developed.


With the newly adopted fee structure, the incentive and maximum units allowed go away and the discount has been amended to be more consistent with the per-unit rate structure in the rest of the city.


“The approved recommendation lowers the parkland in-lieu fee for high-rises based on observed occupancy rates,” said Matt Cano, assistant director of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.  “Essentially, the new rates are adjusted based on the fact that less people typically live in high-rises on average than in typical multi-family development.”


Averaging 1.51 people per unit, the downtown high-rise parkland in-lieu fee for 2018 is $14,600 per unit.  However, the high-rise rate now qualifies for private recreation credits, meaning the fee is reduced as projects add pools, dog walks and other recreation amenities to their buildings.


Formerly, the incentive was set at $11,300 per unit, which originally represented a 50 percent discount of the fees for buildings of five or more units in the downtown area.


A high-rise is defined in San Jose by buildings 12 stories and higher located in the area bounded on the north by Taylor, Coleman and Julian streets, from the railroad tracks on the west to Fourth Street and around City Hall on the east and Interstate 280 on the south.


Besides making the fees more consistent across the city, the new parkland fee structure results in a less-complicated process.  Starting in 2007, the City Council was asked to amend the Schedule of Parkland Fees 16 times.

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