Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Environmental Services Agency



October 10, 2002


October 29, 2002


9:00 a.m.



Honorable Board of Supervisors


Marcia Raines, Director


Review of Draft Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment




Accept the Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment; and


Consider establishment of a Task Force to study the issues of governance and finance for how the Assessment will be implemented.



The location of the Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment is the unincorporated Mid-Coast between City of Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. The east of inland boundary used in this study is the same as used as the easterly Project Area Boundary used in the Mid-Coast Local Coastal Plan Update Report 2002.


Following the Board of Supervisors approval of the Coastside Subregional Planning Project, and a Mid-Coast Fiscal Annexation Study in 1998, the Board of Supervisors requested that the Environmental Services Agency, County Parks and Recreation Division initiate the Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment in the summer of 2000. The purpose of the Assessment is to assist the Mid-Coast community in moving forward with a vision of a coastside park and recreation system and outline a strategy for overall implementation of the overall plan. Towards that end, the Assessment will:



Produce a needs assessment of desired park and recreation elements.


Provide the estimated costs of the park and recreation system.


Outline funding and opportunities for implementation of the plan.


Enable policy makers to implement an action plan.





Mid-Coast Community Plan identified need to: 1) provide internal trail network, as well as provide for regional trails; 2) protect and enhance agricultural lands land open space; 3) provide park facilities in each community and establish a system for financing them; and 4) identify opportunities for partnership with local public school district to allow for recreational development of school facilities.



Board of Supervisors approved the Coastside Subregional Planning Project, which studied the issues of mobility, economic vitality and natural resource protection and management in the unincorporated Mid-Coast. The Natural Resource Protection and Management section recommendations called for: pursuing all methods to preserve open space and acquire new parkland, and (2) evaluating the feasibility of all funding, management, and regulatory techniques toward that end.



Workshop 1 to review potential facilities, trails, and recreational programming needs.



Telephone survey of community at large and registered voters performed by Strategic Research Institute for both a Strategic Capital Plan and Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment for the Environmental Services Agency, Parks and Recreation Division. The title of the report is the Needs Analysis and Financing Options Study.



Presentation to Board of Supervisors of the findings of the Needs Analysis and Financing Options Study.



Presentation to Mid-Coast Community Council (MCCC) of the Needs Analysis and Financing Options Study, specifically as it pertained to the Mid-Coast.


08-22-01 - 06-20-02

Focus Group interviews with past and present Half Moon Bay Park Directors, MCCC Council and Park Committee members, County Park Commission Chair, Director of Coastside Boys and Girl's Club, and Director of Stewardship at POST.



Workshop 2 to review Telephone Survey Results and further prioritize recreational programming needs.



Workshop 3 to review Draft Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment.



Presentation of Draft Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment to Mid-Coast Community Council.



Presentation of the Draft Mid-Coast Recreation Needs Assessment to the Parks and Recreation Commission.




Preliminary Findings from the Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment

San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Division has developed a Park and Recreation Needs Assessment for the Mid-Coast region of the County. This process has included a telephone poll of 402 County residents (conducted by Strategy Research Institute) that also had a "stratified" component to focus on the collective needs of residents in five unincorporated communities: El Granada, Miramar, Montara, Moss Beach and Princeton. In addition, the planning and landscape architecture firm of Callander and Associates has been engaged to conduct a community participation process that has included two community meetings, a number of stakeholder interviews and analysis of the census data for the Mid-Coast area. Callander has also analyzed the National Recreation and Park Association standards for Levels of Service (LOS) to determine need based on the current and projected population and relate that to what is needed in the Mid-Coast area for current residents as well as projected out for the next 20 years.


The Needs Assessment Report recommends that the Board of Supervisors adopt a goal of 6 acres per 1000 population for the Mid-Coast Area. During the Parks and Recreation Commission's consideration of the Assessment, Commissioner Esser expressed concern that the established standard of 6 acres per 1,000 was high, and recommended a standard of 3 acres per 1,000 based on comparative standards of local jurisdictions. The Commission voted in favor of the 6 acres per 1,000 standard as a goal. As shown in the Assessment, many communities have high goals, which have not been met to date.


The Assessment determined the following for the Mid-Coast area:


Based on current development, 55% of the allowable build out has been completed.


Based on current projected build out, the current population of the Mid-Coast area will increase by approximately 45% (from 10, 237 to 18,718).


Local publicly provided recreation facilities in the Mid-Coast area are non-existent.


Based on LOS calculations, the Mid-Coast area requires 42 acres of suitable land to fulfill its current local recreation need and 104 acres to fulfill the local recreation need at build out.


The only existing Neighborhood Park in the Mid-Coast is 4 acres in Quarry Park in El Granada, which is operated by Mid-Coast Parklands.


The County has recently negotiated an agreement to acquire Mirada Surf, a 49-acre parcel of land at the south end of El Granada that spans Highway 1. Thirty-four acres on the East Side of the highway are now in County ownership. County has an option to acquire the remaining 15 acres located on the West Side of Highway 1. No planning for the site has yet been completed. Until options, including site constraints (such as possible wetlands) are evaluated, it is not known what portions may be available to serve any of the needs identified in the Assessment underway.



Preliminary Findings from the Strategy Research Institute (SRI) Phone Poll

In June 2001, a professional telephone poll of residents was conducted by SRI to ascertain priorities for local parks in the Mid-Coast region. Thirty calls were completed in each of the 5 communities in the Mid-Coast Area, making the results statistically valid for the size of the existing population. The following were priorities ranging from 89% for preservation of open space to 52 % for a gym:


Preserve Open Space (89%)


Walking/Jogging Areas (79%)


Multi-Use Trails (79%)


More Restrooms (76%)


Playground Areas (72%)


Picnic Areas (66%)


Softball/Baseball Fields (58%)


Public Swimming Pool (54%)


Tennis Courts (54%)


Soccer/Football Fields (52%)


Roller Sports Facility (52%)


Gym for Indoor Sports (52%)


A copy of the results of that poll is posted on the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Division's web site. It can be viewed at



The Mid-Coast Park and Recreation Plan


Existing Population and Build Out

The current population of the Mid-Coast area is estimated at 10,356 based on the United States Census 2000 and calculations developed by planning staff during the process of updating the Local Coastal Program. These calculations were based on a count of existing dwelling units multiplied by 2.78 persons per dwelling. The anticipated future population increase at build out of the area is 8,362 new residents for a total of 18,718 resident at build out. This estimate was based on the maximum additional residential units allowed under the Local Coastal Program multiplied by 2.78 persons per dwelling. The anticipated population increase is approximately 45% of the total population expected at build out.




Callandar and Associates estimates that the current population needs a total of 62 acres of publicly owned land to meet the national standard of 6 acres per 1,000 residents. Based on the preliminary findings of the Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment, the following recommendations for acquisition to serve the existing population are made:


6 Mini Parks/Playground Sites (1/2 to 3 acres)


4 Neighborhood Parks (7 to 10 acres)


1 Community Park (30-40 acres)


1 Specialty Facility -- Community Recreation Center and Gymnasium


Trails -- Class 1 (6 miles)


Trails -- Hiking (6.3 miles)


The acreage needed at build out will be an additional 50 acres of parkland to accommodate new residents. Based on various plans and the preliminary findings of the Mid Coast Recreational Needs Assessment, the following recommendations for acquisition to serve future populations are made:


3 Playground Sites (½ to 3 acres)


2 Neighborhood Parks (7 to 10 acres)


1 Community Park (25-40 acres)


Trails -- Class 1 (3.6 miles)


Trails -- Hiking (3.9 miles)


Because actual sites have not yet been identified, estimating the cost of land acquisition is very difficult. It is more complicated because the County owns land in the study area that might be made available for some of, or all of, the identified needs. The Real Property Division's research shows recent sales figures that range from $50,000 to $1,000,000 per acre. For purposes of this study and plan, an assumption has been made of an average cost per acre of $95,000. That figure can be re-evaluated after actual sites have been identified and when the plan and fee structure is re-evaluated every 5 years.


Other properties that might become part of a park and recreation system to serve the Mid-Coast are some of the median strips currently under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works, if they could provide some of the identified amenities. Space should also be explored for creation of a dog park. Another mid-level priority for the area would be development of a swim center to supplement the fully utilized public pool located in Half Moon Bay. For purposes of this plan, such a facility has not been included in either the acquisition or development estimates.



Funding Options

One of the areas of key concern as the plan has been developed is how the implementation will be funded. Traditionally, these services are funded by taxes imposed by cities and not traditionally provided by counties. Funding will be needed to acquire land and develop facilities. Funding will also be needed to operate and maintain them and to conduct recreational programming.


In the area of acquisition and development, several funding mechanisms are allowed under California State Law. Bond funds, such as those from the recently passed Propositions' 12 and 40 are one source. The Needs Analysis identified 19 potential sources of funding for the implementation of this proposal. County Counsel has also provided an analysis of sources of funding acquisition and development, operations and maintenance, and in some cases programming costs. These include:



Development Mitigation Fees




Special District


Grant Funding/Donations


In addition to the funding mechanisms, a determination will need to be made about governance of the operation. Some options include:



Contracting with City of Half Moon Bay for them to provide management and oversight of the plan implementation


Creation of a Special District that would assume responsibility for implementation


Expansion of duties of an existing Special District to a Community Services District that would assume responsibility for the implementation of the plan


Expansion of the responsibility of County Parks and Recreation Division to manage and operate the system.




Throughout the public outreach and in the Needs Analysis and Financing Options Study, the community cited a lack of transportation facilities as a major inhibitor to the use of recreation park facilities. No standards exist for the amount of trails needed for a specific population number. Defining the number of trails needed in the Mid-Coast was determined by using:


· 1.

The 1978 Community Plan, which called for a network of local trails designed to serve primarily local residents.

· 2.

The 2001 County Trail Plan, which identified regional trails in the Mid-Coast.

· 3.

Potential public crossings of Highway 1 and other potential trails that had been identified through the public workshops.


Funding for the trail system would come from a variety of Federal, State and County programs. Collaboration with a wide variety of public agency partners such as CalTrans, Half Moon Bay, County Public Works, SamTrans, etc., will be necessary to implement a well-planned trail system.




The Mid-Coast has been trying since the 1970's to implement a local neighborhood park plan. Ongoing efforts have achieved some limited success, but a concerted effort is required to make a system a reality. The County's Needs Analysis and Financing Options Study scientifically measured community values and cited a strong level of support at the current time. This is matched by the State's recent passage of Proposition 12 and Proposition 40 yielding significant sources for local entities.


The County Parks and Recreation Division's role in this process has been that of facilitator. The Division is not currently charged with the responsibility of constructing, maintaining, operating, or administering a neighborhood and community park system in the Mid-Coast area. It is not within the Division's Mission Statement, or is it within the Division's current capabilities and resources. Should the Division be redirected to provide or assist with implementing such a local system, significant new resources (staff, capital, administrative, etc.) would have to be found and allocated.


While the County has funded and facilitated this assessment, it may be more appropriate for a local entity to implement and manage this park system. A number of opportunities for partnering with a variety of entities have also been identified. These opportunities cannot be adequately seized without an organized and committed resource of experienced personnel. Comparing population and local interest, the Mid-Coast has much in common with the Half Moon Bay community.


Staff recommends that the Board of Supervisors consider establishment of Task Force to study and recommend the most feasible entity to govern the system and evaluate funding options. Part of the work of that Task Force will also be to develop an overall funding strategy to pay for facilities for the existing population and to develop a funding source to pay for the cost of operations, maintenance and recreational programming.


Vision Alignment

The Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment proposal to provide park and recreation services to the Mid-Coast residents keeps the commitment of Realizing the Potential of Our Diverse Population and goal number 1: "Our diverse population works well together to build strong communities, effective government, and a prosperous economy." This Assessment contributes to this commitment and goal as the creation of parks and recreation facilities are linked to quality of life, improved property values and economic vitality. A local community serving park system in the Mid-Coast will build community and add to the area's economy.


The Assessment also keeps the commitment of Realizing the Potential of Our Diverse Population and goal number 2: "Civic engagement - including voting, public service, charitable giving, volunteerism and participation in public discussions of important issues - is uniformly high among the diverse population." The Assessment contributes to this commitment and goal as the creation of a new park system provides an excellent opportunity for civic engagement, participation in public discussions of important issues affecting the Mid-Coast community, and ample opportunities for volunteer involvement.


The Assessment keeps the commitment of Preserving and Providing People Access to Our Natural Environment and goal number 15: "Residents have nearby access to green space, such as parks and recreational opportunities." The Assessment contributes to this commitment and goal by addressing the current lack of a parks and recreation system in the Mid-Coast area and supporting the development of such a system.


Reviewing Agencies

Mid-Coast Community Council; Pacifica Parks Department; Half Moon Bay Parks Department, County Planning Division, California Coastal Conservancy, State Parks, Golden Gate National Recreation Area.


Fiscal Impact

There are a number of significant costs associated with providing new local park and recreation services in the Mid-Coast. What the funding mechanisms are, and who will administer the system are outstanding issues, which are unresolved at this time.


Below is a summary of anticipated costs of developing the system and providing the services described in the Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment.


Acquisition and Development Costs

The acquisition and development costs for the park system described above would require an estimated $31.5 million for the current population and an additional $20.5 million for the future buildout population (see Tables 7, 8, and 9 starting on page 62 of the Assessment). A variety and combination of funding sources will be necessary to implement and operate the park system. One time fund sources such as federal and state grants, bond measures, etc., are ideal for limited acquisition and development. Other ongoing and more stable sources of funding such as development fees, Quimby Act funding, and/or a parcel tax will also be necessary to adequately finance the system. It is likely that much of the acquisition and development funds will have to come from federal and state grants, use of County-owned lands, a possible local parcel tax or bond measure, and other outside funding over the next twenty years.


Recreation Programming Costs

Funding for many recreation programs would be primarily through a combination of user fees and agency subsidy. Some additional funding could come from corporate sources, volunteers, and a variety of miscellaneous sources. It is vital that a stable adequate funding level be achieved through the primary sources. The cost for providing the recreation programs for the system would vary from $145,000 annually for the current population to approximately $262,000 at full build out (see Table 10 on page 66 of the Assessment).


Maintenance Costs

The costs for maintenance of the parks, trails, and community center building, and administration and management of the system are summarized in Table 10 on page 66 of the Assessment. The cost annually for current population would be approximately $1,199,000 and for full build out population approximately $2,086,000. Funding for maintenance would likely be derived primarily from a parcel tax or special benefit assessment district with other sources providing a supplement. The Needs and Financing Options Study shows that 75% of the community would support this funding and would pay up to $25 per year to do so.


Management Costs

The costs for the administration of the entire park, trail and recreation system is also summarized in Table 10 on page 66, both for the existing population and potential build-out. The cost annually for current population would be approximately $197,000 and for full build out population approximately $356,000. Services for funding of these costs would be similar to the maintenance costs.



The Draft Mid-Coast Recreational Needs Assessment may be viewed at, or you may contact Park Planner Sam Herzberg at (650) 363-1823.