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The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday plans to consider raising park in-lieu fees by 47% for new residential projects. 


Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.


When a developer proposes a new project and gets it approved, their plan must include either land dedicated to parks, or pay an “in-lieu fee equal to the value of land required for parkland,” or both, according to a city staff report. The last update to the park in-lieu fees was made in 2007. 

The in-lieu fees are calculated based on three factors: Newport Beach’s parkland dedication ratio of 5 acres per 1,000 people, the average number of persons per household, and the per-acre value of land that the city establishes, according to the staff report. 

The current fee is $26,125 per unit. The proposed change would be a 47% increase — or over 3% per year since the last one in 2007 — to $38,400 per unit. Due to this sizable change, the increase will be phased in over two years, the staff report states. 

The amount of fees collected changes from year to year, but is expected to go up in the next two years. In fiscal year 2016-17, over $3 million were collected, and in 2019-20, the city took in nearly $209,000. In the current fiscal year thus far, more than $208,000 have been collected, and an additional $287,000 more is expected, according to the staff report.

These fees are designed to create and improve parks in new residential developments, the staff report states. The funds have led to the development of parks like Grant Howald Park, Sunset View Park, and Marina Park. 

The council meeting starts at 4 p.m. and is streamed live on NBTV. 

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