Do Parks Add Value To “Your” House?

….YES, BUT IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOUR HOUSE IS LOCATED

One of the major drawbacks to the City Council decision to abdicate their leadership role regarding parks, by creating the Blue Ribbon Committee (“BRC”), was the resulting lack of public discussion.

Because the BRC met in public, yet poorly-publicized cloistered meetings, (Zak did “attend” the last meeting but only after wandering around the City Hall building hallways until he heard voices coming out of the side door of City Hall offices),there was no readily accessible venue to challenge any of the primary BRC premises, such as an open City Council meeting would normally provide.

Thus, as a public service, Wildomar Magazine weighs in on one of their primary premises, as found in the Citizens For Wildomar Parks brochure, recently placed on the doorstep of a Wildomar citizen.

Your YES vote on Measure “D” will keep your property value from further decreasing ……”

As result of that brochure’s premise, Zak began to dig through the Internet and found the following:

http://urpl.wisc.edu/academics/workshop/jefferson%20county/team1/JCEconfinal.pdf

This very large work comes from the University of Wisconsin and attempts to quantify the impact on property value resulting from “Parks, trails and open space….”

As I skimmed through the work, I found the following relevant and useful citations:

1)  “Studies have shown that the relationship between parks and open space and property values is not a simple relationship.

For example, parks with limited vehicular access (but with some recreational access) and with effective maintenance and security provisions are correlated with a positive influence on adjacent property values.” (Marna O’Brien Park, for instance, might be an example).

Based on the above, the Wisconsin study tends to support the BRC premise.

2) “In other cases, some high use areas can actually have a negative influence on adjacent property, but still contribute to increased value of nearby properties.” (Marna O’Brien Park, once again).

3) “… studies show that as the distance of residential properties from parks increases, the positive impact of the park upon the property tends to decrease.

Few studies attempt to calculate impacts beyond 2000 feet because additional variables come into play.”

4)  “Property values are a function of many factors, such as physical characteristics of the housing structure and neighborhood characteristics.”

At the end of the day, after reading portions of the University of Wisconsin study, it appears that the BRC premise that parks add or maintain value value for your personal residence is only partially true, primarily depending on if your residence is within 2000 feet of a park; but not right next to it.

Marna O’Brien Park is, at best, a neighborhood park, rather than a Community Park. It’s supposed economic benefits likely do not extend to homes located beyond 2,000 feet distance, or approximately 1/3 mile.

Windsong Park, near my home, is a “tot lot” with a half-court basketball set up. It offers “zero” benefit to anyone not living in the Windsong Valley tract. I wouldn’t expect anyone in any other part of the community to pay for its maintenance, as they derive no benefit whatsoever.

Heritage Park, near Bridgette Moore’s home, is essentially a water detention basin with grass in it and is, primarily, a park for walking your dog. Same zero benefit to the community as Windsong Park. She should not expect any other part of the community to pay for its maintenance, as they derive no benefit from it.

Thus, arguing that the above three parks would increase the value of your home, or at the very least, keep the value from decreasing further, is spurious at best, and a misrepresentation of reality, at worst.

Marna O’Brien Park is the only park facility that could be “economically” beneficial to the “entire” community of Wildomar, but only by stretching one’s credulity.

Since the BRC was “stacked” with obvious pro-park proponents, such as sports league officials, and the debate process was  “cloistered,” there was little opportunity for open and public discussion to challenge  their premises.

As a result, we must do so now in the middle of the election campaign.

It’s Zak’s gift to the process. At least, to his curious but thoughtful readers.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

 Zak suggests that you check your odometer for the distance from Marna O’Brien Park to your house, before you vote on June 07, 2011.

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