[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Somers 9-9-2004 by L.L. No. 10-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
On or about November 8, 1990, the Town Board of the Town of Somers last increased the Town's recreation fee to $5,000 per newly created building lot. Since that time, the Town of Somers has experienced rapid growth in its population and continues to be one of the fastest growing communities in Westchester County. This growth has brought with it an ever increasing demand for recreational opportunities for the Town's residents. At the same time, trends in recreational sports have been changing, leading not only to an increased demand for active recreational facilities for organized sports such as baseball and softball, but also demands for other organized sports and programs which did not exist or existed in limited form in the past. The combined effect of the trends, including population growth, burgeoning demand for active recreational parks and facilities for organized sports, and changing demographics, has resulted in a serious inadequacy of existing Town active recreational parks and facilities to meet the needs of its residents. As the population continues to grow, and as more residential subdivisions and site plans are approved, the recreational needs will only increase. At the same time, as vacant land in the Town is developed for housing and other purposes, the availability of land that is suitable and appropriate for active park and recreational facilities is rapidly disappearing.
Presently, existing facilities for active recreation are severely limited and are inadequate to accommodate the needs of the Town's residents. The Town Board is attempting to address this deficiency in a comprehensive manner, but is hampered by the constraints of the unavailability of suitable lands and upwardly spiraling land costs. The Town Board is particularly limited in its ability to address this deficiency adequately because of the specific needs that pertain to properly sited and planned active recreational facilities. Scattered collections of small, individual parks would not be suited to meet the Town's recreational needs. In order to be suitable to meet these needs, such facility must be large enough to provide several active recreational facilities for the sake of cost efficiency and to reduce transportation and other impacts, and be located so as to be readily accessible to the greatest percentage of the Town's population. The Town of Somers is approximately 33 square miles in size and lies almost completely in the Croton Watershed, which is part of the New York City water supply system.
The Somers Parks and Recreation Board has recommended that the Town Board consider increasing the Town's recreation fee, and Ward Associates was retained to prepare a Parks and Recreation Master Plan update in consultation with the Somers Parks and Recreation Board. Among other things, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan update identifies the need for additional parkland to serve the needs of the Town's existing population (18,346 residents in 2000) and notes that there still is additional development potential in the Town.
The Town's professional Consulting Planner, Frederick P. Clark Associates, has reviewed the Parks and Recreation Master Plan update and provided additional data, analysis and supplementation relative to the establishment of an appropriate recreation fee in its report. Among other things, the Frederick P. Clark Associates report projected that the Town's maximum development potential under current zoning policies yielding additional dwelling units and a need for an additional parkland for future residents, included an analysis of the upwardly spiraling land costs, and discussed the constraints associated with the unavailability of suitable land.
The Frederick P. Clark Associates report included a recommendation for the upper limit of the recreation fee per newly created building lot based on the analysis in the report and in view of the high cost of land in the Town of Somers. Frederick P. Clark Associates also recommended that recreation fees for residential site plans, as authorized by Town Law § 274-a and Town Code § 170-114D, be established and be based on a percentage of the per-building-lot recreation fee established by the Town Board, with the applicable percentage to depend on the type of dwelling unit and the bedroom count of the newly created dwelling unit.
Accordingly, it is found that the Town's recreation fee for subdivisions should be increased as provided in this chapter. The increased recreation fee is supported by the analysis completed, represents an appropriate recreation fee per newly created building lot, and is below the recommended upper limit. In addition, a recreation fee for residential site plans should be established which will be based on the type of dwelling unit and the bedroom count of the newly created dwelling unit as recommended.
Pursuant to Town Law § 277 and Town Code § 150-24A, the Town Board of the Town of Somers hereby increases the Town of Somers residential subdivision recreation fee to $11,500 per newly created residential building lot.
Pursuant to Town Law § 274-a and Town Code § 170-114D, the recreation fee for dwelling units shown on residential site plans shall be as follows:
For purposes of determining the applicable recreation fee percentage, the number of bedrooms in a dwelling unit shall be as determined by the Planning Board.
The Town's fee schedule shall be amended to reflect the recreation fees set forth above. Such recreation fees may be periodically reviewed in the future.
The recreation fees provided for in this chapter shall apply to all residential subdivisions and site plans for which a recreation fee is required to be paid, except that, after conducting a public hearing on at least 10 days' notice, the Town Board may, in its discretion, waive, in whole or in part, the payment of a recreation fee otherwise required to be paid, upon a finding that such waiver is necessary or desirable to facilitate the development of affordable dwelling units as defined in § 170-3 of the Code of the Town of Somers.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section, or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, section, paragraph or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.