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OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION PROGRAM POLICY
Marin County, California
Open Space District
To provide the financial means and leadership which are needed
to identify and secure critical open space areas throughout Marin County,
it is the Districtís intention to operate in accordance with the following
An area of natural landscape essentially undeveloped, such
as ridges, streams, natural shorelines, scenic buffer areas, and agricultural
Definition of Open Space
The Districtís powers shall be as enumerated in Article 3,
Division 5, Section 5500 et seq. of the California Public Resources Code,
and the following:
Powers and General Policies
The Marin County Parks and Cultural Commission shall be the advisory body
to the Districtís Board of Directors.
Land areas preserved by the District must conform to the definition in
Section No. II above.
All of the Districtís resources will be directed to Open Space Preservation.
With minimum necessary funding allocated to open space management, all
remaining property tax derived revenues shall be directed to land and easement
acquisition and costs incidental thereto. Any additional revenues forthcoming
to the District shall be applied to land and easement acquisition. This
policy shall be subject to review at the Board of Directorsí discretion,
until the Districtís preservation goals have been achieved.
Recreation developments on District lands shall be restricted to those
which are compatible with the primary function of open space areas, which
is the preservation of natural amenities.
The District will seek agreements with local jurisdictions for their provision
of maintenance and operation of preserved open space areas. These agreements
shall provide for acceptable and uniform levels of maintenance. The District
will maintain and operate areas where no such agreement can be reached.
Development, operation, and maintenance of compatible recreation facilities
on District lands must be financed by means other than the Districtís tax
The District will encourage and promote cooperation and participation in
the open space preservation effort by local agencies, organizations and
individuals as well as other County departments.
Preservation projects suggested by local jurisdictions and organizations
must include a workable project definition and be submitted sufficiently
in advance to be considered for any particular fiscal year.
Emergency and opportunity purchases will be considered as appropriate during
the fiscal year.
Condemnation will not be used in this program except to protect the Districtís
interest and investment. It may be more necessary in the future to employ
condemnation to these ends.
Where local contributions are offered, adequate agreements must be provided
to insure the District of the proper distribution of relevant questions,
including but not limited to:
Scope of the project.
Types and amounts of contributions.
Maintenance, operation and policing.
Public Open Space
Fee acquisition projects should be identified in the Environmental Quality
Element (Map 2) of the Marin Countywide Plan or other adopted general or
Projects should have the general support of the local jurisdictions within
their sphere of influence.
Acquisition of lands should be undertaken only for projects of District
Agricultural land parcels under consideration for fee purchase should be
identified as agricultural open space or water edge lowlands in agricultural
use on Map 2 of the Marin Countywide Plan. Opportunity purchases of bayland
agricultural parcels will also be considered.
The Open Space District will work closely with involved individuals, organizations,
and agencies to ensure that title and management questions are fully resolved
before disbursement of funds. The Open Space District will consider holding
title to such lands (combined with leaseback arrangements, etc.,) as is
judged appropriate and necessary.
Agricultural land parcels under consideration for less than fee purchase
should be identified as agricultural open space or water edge lowlands
in agricultural use on Map 2 of the Marin Countywide Plan or identified
within an Agricultural Element of the Marin Countywide Plan (should one
be developed and adopted). Opportunity purchases involving significant
bayland agricultural parcels will also be considered.
Trail access policies as embodied in the Marin Countywide Plan and Marin
Countywide Trails Plan should be pursued to the degree such access is compatible
with appropriate agricultural practices.
Lands under immediate threat of development or irreversible damage will
be given a high priority.
The existing and potential economic value of the property for agriculture
will have significance.
Owner/lessee management practices, including waste management and erosion
control, and their effect on land and water quality will be considered.
Waste management and erosion control will be particularly important.
The visual or ecological importance of the properties will have significance.
Lands which are contiguous and which will extend their usefulness to existing
preserved open space areas are significant.
Attractive purchase consideration and conditions will be significant.
High priority will be given to support expressed by an Agricultural Element
of the Marin Countywide Plan (should one be developed and adopted) for
a particular property or area preservation effort.
Gifts and dedications.
Scenic and open space contracts.
Land use regulations which allow reasonable land use by the owners while
preserving aesthetic and ecological values.
Less than fee purchase (easements, development rights, etc.).
Other creative or new implementation techniques as they are developed.
Generally speaking, the Districtís prime focus will be the
Countyís eastern corridor. The following will be used as guidelines for
determining project priority:
Areas under immediate threat of development or irreversible damage will
be given high priority.
The visual or ecological importance of the area in the County will have
In projects involving agricultural land, the existing and potential economic
value of the property for agriculture will be considered.
Local contributions in cash, land areas, or land use regulations will be
considered but are not essential.
Projects which are contiguous and which will extend their usefulness to
existing open space preserved areas are important.
Attractive purchase consideration and conditions will be significant.
Adoption of the Environmental Quality Element of the Marin Countywide Plan
by the jurisdiction involved will be significant, but not mandatory.
The Districtís share of property taxes constitutes the basic local source
of countywide open space preservation funds.
The Districtís borrowing and bonding capabilities shall be used where appropriate
and authorized by law.
Funds will be allocated yearly from available funds to approved projects.
The District tax income should be as determined by the Board of Directors.
Private contributions of land and funds will be actively encouraged.
Federal (and State where available) matching funds will be aggressively
Local funds and contributions will be actively encouraged and used wherever
County Service Areas may be formed where necessary to insure equitable
local fiscal participation.
In addition, to the extent that funds are available, the Open Space District
will contribute up to a maximum of 50% of the funds necessary for the preservation
by local jurisdictions of open space lands. This contribution shall be
limited to those parcels of land which have countywide significance as
delineated in the Environmental Quality Element of the Marin Countywide
In joint acquisition projects involving other jurisdictions, districts,
CSAís, organizations, or agencies, the District will demand ownership by
fee title or employ reversionary clauses, tenants in common arrangements,
or other legal means appropriate to particular projects to ensure that
District property interests are secure. As determined by Article 3, Division
5, Section 5540 of the Public Resources Code, property interests held by
the District cannot be conveyed outright without the consent of the majority
of voters of the District (subject to certain exceptions).
Holding of Property Interests
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