Under the state's Quimby Act of 1965, developers of certain types of residential buildings must either dedicate green space or pay into a special fund for parks. The law was intended to protect the public's green spaces and prevent cities from becoming overly urbanized, but it was left to local municipalities to interpret and administer it.
In Los Angeles, the planning department determines whether developers should donate land or money and calculates the fee. But officials there told "SoCal Connected" they couldn't think of a single instance in which developers set aside land instead of paying the fees.
That's significant, according to some of the city's own staff, because it is far more difficult -- and probably more expensive -- for the city to acquire new land on its own than to have it donated.
As part of a months-long investigation into the city's handling of the local Quimby program, "SoCal Connected" identified at least 40 properties that could have been required to dedicate land instead of paying the fees. In the map below, we have indicated these developments with a red circle outlined in black.
The map also shows all of the collection points -- indicated by red circles -- where developers paid into the Quimby account and how much was collected. Finally, the green squares represent city parks that have had Quimby money allocated to them and how much, as of April, was allocated. Clicking on a park will reveal information about the individual projects planned or executed there since 2003.
Because of the way Los Angeles interprets the state Quimby law, money from a collection point can only be used on parks within a one- to two-mile radius, and it can't be used to fund a park in another city council district. There are additional rules and restrictions that make it fairly complicated to determine how the Quimby money can be used. Accordingly, this map should be considered as a starting point to understanding how the Quimby program has worked in Los Angeles, and not as a comprehensive research tool.
While the city has released much of the data it has on the Quimby program, we are still waiting, as of publication, for complete access.
Map created by GreenInfo Network, www.greeninfo.org, with research and analysis by Karen Foshay and Brian Frank.