The Anaheim Outdoors Connectivity Plan(Plan) is meant to be a catalyst for initiating or further developing physical connections and site enhancements that will promote healthy access and outdoor activities throughout the community.
The following topics lay out the framework for implementing the Plan in the City of Anaheim.
8.1 Consider all potential projects regardless of size - ‘no project too small’
As part of the phasing strategy, connections or enhancements that require the least amount of coordination, effort, or money to implement will be identified and prioritized. These projects will likely include: improvement of existing easements; existing City owned facilities and properties; single agency collaborations; public/ private partnerships and favorable grant funding opportunities.
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8.2 Coordinate with Anaheim Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and other agency improvement projects
All Anaheim CIP projects and other agency projects have the potential to include connectivity aspects and/or take advantage of potential collaborative projects that would improve the greening and linkage opportunities envisioned in the Plan. This coordination is especially important in any road or street improvements where alternative transportation modes (pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users) should be considered. As streets are rehabilitated, each project should be evaluated to determine if facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and/or equestrians could be included, on a case by case basis.
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8.3 Strengthen public/private partnerships
Continue to communicate with business owners, utility companies, railroads and developers and present the connectivity opportunities and benefits of a collaborative approach to improving the connectivity and quality of life in Anaheim. A great example of this approach is The Anaheim Resort enhancements which have benefitted not only the associated businesses but the community aesthetic overall.
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8.4 Identify opportunities for private and nonprofit investment
There are many private and non-profit groups who would benefit from the connectivity enhancements envisioned in the Plan. Equestrians, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Bicycle Coalition, YMCA, senior groups, service clubs, sports groups, Audubon society, Back to Natives, and Inside the Outdoors have definite interests in the greening and connectivity opportunities in the City. At the public meetings there was interest expressed in volunteer opportunities to assist in installations and maintenance of landscape improvements.
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8.5 Enhance inter agency partnerships
With the confluence of freeways, watersheds, river, creeks, storm channels, railroads, etc., there are many agencies that have interests and responsibilities in Anaheim. All have been involved to some degree in the development of the Plan. The intent in implementation is that partnership opportunities are continually explored and developed as the City evolves and wherever possible, collaborative greening projects can produce a benefit to multiple agencies and the community at large. An excellent example of this is the collaboration between the City and OCWD to create a recreation trail resource at Anaheim Coves. The improvements, funded by State grants obtained by the City, were implemented on OCWD property at Burris Basin.
Land Ownership Matrix
The Plan identifies several Opportunity Sites within the SCE Corridor. In most of these areas SCE owns the right-of-way in fee and leases the right-of-way to the City or some other owner. When this is the case, all recommended additions to the land must be approved by SCE, and working with SCE can be a long and complicated process. Some cities have acquired the greenbelt property in fee and given SCE a perpetual easement for their transmission lines. Deeding the property to the City takes the liability risk off of SCE and allows the City to put more recreational uses along the greenbelt. The deed generally includes restrictions to prevent any development that might interfere with SCE access and operation of their transmission lines. If the proposed additions and improvements for recreation purposes are very limited, pursuing acquisition of the right-of-way in fee is not usually necessary. Therefore the process for each Opportunity Site project should be considered on a case by case basis.
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8.6 Identify and apply for local, state and federal grants
With the variety of environments and potential connectivity projects afforded in Anaheim, there will likely be strong opportunities to apply for grants to plan and implement specific Opportunity Site projects envisioned in the Plan. Having the Plan is a definite advantage in competing for grants as it illustrates the City’s vision and commitment toward sustainability, health, greening and linking urban resources to better serve the greater Anaheim community. Potential funding bodies include:
Grand opening at Lemon Park, Fullerton
- Land & Water Conservation Fund - provides matching grants to States and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities
- Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) - the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, representing cities and more than 18 million residents, SCAG undertakes a variety of initiatives to encourage a more sustainable southern California ??
- Habitat Conservation Fund - allocates approximately $2 million each year for grants to cities, counties and districts to provide for nature interpretation and other non-capital outlay programs which bring urban residents into park and wildlife areas, to protect various plant and animal species or to acquire or develop wildlife corridors and trails
- Recreation Trails program - provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail - related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses. The RTP is an assistance program of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Federal transportation funds benefit recreation including hiking, biking and equestrian uses ??
- California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Transportation Planning Grant Program - funds are available each fiscal year for planning projects that improve mobility and lead to the planning, programming, and implementation of transportation improvement projects
- Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Measure M - OCTA administers a variety of funding programs through Measure M including Freeway, Transit, Streets and Environmental Mitigation. ??
- OCTA Bicycle Corridor Improvement Program (BCIP) - funded using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. Available to local government agencies in Orange County for transportation-related projects that reduce congestion and improve air quality. ??
- Caltrans - Environmental Justice and Community- Based Transportation Planning Grants Program - provide grants for developing and studying the sustainability of land use plans. Products include expanded transportation choices, encouragement of transit oriented and mixed use development,and a contribution to positive local planning efforts ??
- Caltrans - Bicycle Transportation Account (BTA) is an annual program providing state funds for city projects are designed and developed to achieve the functional commuting needs and physical safety of bicyclists.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - provides grant funding for several areas including projects that improve water quality, control water pollution, and watershed and wetland conservation
- AB 2766 - Provides for the collection of an additional $4 in motor vehicle registration fees to fund various air pollution efforts.
Grand Opening at Colony Park, Anaheim
Grand opening at Lemon Park, Fullerton
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8.7 Identify opportunities for bonds, assessments, fundraising, etc.
Explore assessment and/or bond funding opportunities for construction and on-going maintenance costs of connectivity improvements that clearly benefit those financially supporting the improvements.
General Obligation Bonds make sense when a city has several different types of facilities it needs to develop and there is strong community support. There is a two-thirds voter approval required by General Obligation Bonds. General Obligation Bonds are paid for out of the city’s General Tax Allotment Fund, so the allocation of dollars for park purposes will compete with the city’s needs for ongoing operations and other types of needed park improvements. Only cities with excess general fund capacity are really able to use General Obligation Bonds for park and facility development.
Revenue Bonds are a popular way for cities to finance capital improvements, especially recreation and park facilities, when the facility being developed will generate the necessary revenue to pay the debt service on the bonds. This method is common for development of sports arenas, convention centers, theatres and other facilities that generate revenue through admission, concessions, and rentals. Revenue Bonds require the city to provide collateral equal to one and half times the value of the bond issue. Revenue Bonds do not require voter approval but do require a four-fifths vote of the city council.
There are two main methods for establishing assessments to pay for recreation and park facility development. These are:
- Lighting and Landscape Assessment Districts ??
- Mello-Roos and other state legislation allowing cities and park districts to create assessment districts for capital improvements.
Each of these requires approval by the property owners who are within the district and are subject to paying the assessment.
State law AB1600 allows local agencies to impose an assessment on properties within an improvement area when the agency can show a nexus that the improvements being made are a benefit to the properties being assessed. Under this method, the agency sends a direct mail ballot to the property owners. If fewer than 50% of the owners vote ‘No’, it could implement the assessment.
Another type of funding source is fundraising. Depending on the type of project, there might be an opportunity to provide naming opportunities within the park or green space to bring in additional funding. Benches, bricks, tiles and other materials that are to be used at the site can be dedicated by individuals or include company naming rights. Banners and signs might be appropriate in certain situations, and can bring in continued support from advertising companies.
An excellent example of this type of fundraising has been successfully implemented at Millennium Park in Chicago. The Millennium Park design included twelve naming opportunities at the cost of $5M each and a monument displaying the names of 100 contributors who each paid $1M. In addition to bonds and other funding strategies, these fundraising efforts helped to finance the development of the Millennium park.
Monument naming opportunity, Millennium Park
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8.8 Work with regulatory agencies and property owners to encourage establishing and protecting habitat
Establishing and protecting habitat is particularly appropriate along the Santa Ana River (Anaheim Coves, Yorba Regional Park, Featherly Regional Park) and in East Anaheim Hills where native flora and fauna exist or conditions to reintroduce them are conducive. Maintaining and expanding wildlife corridors for passive nature trails should be considered similar to Deer Canyon Preserve, Anaheim’s Oak Canyon Nature Center and Weir Canyon Wilderness Park.
Multi-use trail, Anaheim Coves
There are potential mitigation opportunities in the canyons and areas along the Santa Ana River. When projects impact naturally occurring wetlands, critical habitat, migration corridors and other sensitive plants and wildlife, evaluations of those impacts are made so that similar resources can be conserved and restored elsewhere. These opportunities are sometimes referred to as Mitigation Banks. There are several potential Mitigation Bank opportunities that the City could participate in with OCWD including: Deer Canyon, Pelanconi, Oak Canyon and Fremont Canyon. Opportunity Site projects that would include restoration or conservation of native habitat include: Nohl Ranch Road Open Space, Olive Hills Park Improvements, Five Coves North, and Crescent Basin Open Space and Trail Improvements (refer to Opportunity Sites in this Chapter).
Deer Canyon, Anaheim
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8.9 Establish a maintenance and operations plan
During the community outreach it was brought up how important maintenance is for both residents and future economic development. The City should strive to establish maintenance and operations plans to create standards to insure Anaheim’s parks, trails, bike routes, sidewalks, plazas and open spaces meet community expectations and levels of comfort. Here are some examples of items the maintenance programs could address: pavement conditions, bike lane clearance, landscaping, graffiti, litter and tree health.
Bike Lane on Anaheim Blvd
Some guidelines have already been created by the City, including the recently proposed City of Anaheim Tree Policies and Guidelines Manual. This manual includes a section on maintenance guidelines including tree planting methods, tree care, watering schedules and pest control.
A coordinated maintenance and operations plan will also help to ensure compatible use of jointly managed project sites such as transmission line corridors, storm water channel easements, water district properties, roadways, and railroad right-of-ways. It is important that safety consideration and measures are taken to protect facilities and operations as well as public users in these areas. Ongoing maintenance is an economic benefit for the city, as deferred maintenance often leads to greater costs in the end.
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8.10 Establish optional bike licenses
To contribute toward development and maintenance costs associated with bicycle trail enhancements, a bike licensing program could be enacted in Anaheim. These types of programs also discourage bike theft as they make it easier for police to recover stolen bikes. According to the National Bicycle Registry, bicycle theft is on the rise, and it is estimated that over $1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year (NBR 2012). License fees generally range from $1 to $5.
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8.11 Identify CEQA Requirements
The Plan identifies 18 opportunity areas, 8 of which occur along the Santa Ana River. Since these improvements meet the definition of a project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA Guidelines section 15378), preparation of an environmental document of some type will be required.
Collectively, these opportunity areas should be viewed as a recreation master plan, and there is sufficient detail for each opportunity area to analyze their potential environmental impacts at a general, programmatic level (CEQA Guidelines section 15168). The schedule for funding suggests that one or more improvements could be started in the next several years. Even though overall environmental impacts associated with any single improvement would be beneficial over the long term, there still could be adverse impacts to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources, water quality, and public safety, especially during construction. Moreover, since the 18 improvements have been clearly identified in the Plan, it is not permissible under CEQA to analyze each project individually since this is considered “piecemealing.” All 18 improvements must be analyzed together to comply with CEQA requirements.
The first step in environmental analysis would be to prepare an Initial Study (IS) checklist to determine whether a programmatic level Environmental Impact Report is required. Completing the IS checklist requires a preliminary evaluation of environmental impacts to the following:
- Agriculture and forestry resources
- Air Quality
- Biological resources??
- Cultural resources??
- Geology and soils
- ??Greenhouse gas emissions
- ??Hazards and hazardous materials
- ??Hydrology and water quality
- Land use and planning??
- Mineral resources
- Population and housing
- Public services
- Utilities and service systems
Within each IS topical area, specific criteria are evaluated, with evaluations ranging from “No Impact” to “Potentially Significant Impact.” Any criterion rated as a “Potentially Significant Impact” would require preparation of an Environmental Impact Report. If feasible mitigation is identified to reduce all “Potentially Significant Impacts” to lessthan-significant levels, then a Mitigated Negative Declaration can be prepared.
The following is a preliminary overview of potential impacts in several topical areas addressed in CEQA documents.
Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: There would probably be short-term adverse impacts from emissions associated with using construction equipment. Orange County is in a non-attainment area for ozone and particulate matter. As a result, it is possible there would be operational cumulative air quality impacts with regard to ozone and particulate matter when all projects are considered together. In particular it is possible this Plan/project would result in potentially significant impacts with regard to emissions of state or federal criteria pollutants.
Biological Resources and Water Quality: There would probably be short-term impacts associated with ground disturbing activities and generation of sediment sources, particularly from improvement opportunities in close proximity to the Santa Ana River. If any of the improvements in close proximity to the Santa Ana River generate sediment that could enter the water body, then permits from California Department of Fish and Game, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Army Corps of Engineers would likely be required.
Multi-use pathway, Anaheim Coves
Hazardous Resources: There could be potentially significant impacts with regard to public safety associated with public use of SCE utility corridors during construction as well as recreation use following construction. Ground disturbing activities could expose unknown/undiscovered hazardous materials associated with any transformers, transmission lines, and substations present in SCE right-of-ways. Following construction of recreation improvements, routine utility corridor operations and maintenance could create potential safety hazards to recreationists.
At a minimum, completing the IS would result in preparing a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the 18 improvement areas, if all the identified potential impacts can be mitigated to less-than-significant levels. However, if just one impact that might be significant and unavoidable is identified in the IS, a program EIR would be required. If the City of Anaheim desires to start project work in three years, then it would be prudent to begin the CEQA process within the next 6 months to a year.
Completing a program EIR will require 12 to 18 months and costs could range from $200,000 to $300,000 with supporting technical studies. After the EIR is completed, permits may be required for certain improvements, particularly those that have the potential to release sediment into the Santa Ana River. The permitting process can take up to an additional six months and costs range from $25,000 to $50,000. To develop a timeline for environmental compliance and permitting, it is recommended the City of Anaheim complete an IS within the next several months. Completing an IS checklist is relatively straightforward, and can be done in a few weeks, with costs ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.
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