Park Alienation: Not as Other-Worldly as it Sounds

The alienation of nearly half an acre of rare mature forest near this picnic area in Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, Nassau County was approved by the Legislature in 2014.

“Alienation” is the taking of parkland for a non-park use. Before alienation can legally proceed in New York State, there are several steps a municipality must take, including seeking approval from the state Legislature. In order to alienate parkland, municipalities are in most cases required by the Legislature to either dedicate replacement parkland or dedicate funding toward the acquisition of additional parkland or park improvements.

Currently, there is no process to track these alienation actions once they are approved by the Legislature to ensure that the terms of the approval have been met – that is, replacement parkland has been dedicated, funds have been set aside for future park acquisition, or funds have been dedicated to park improvements.

S. 5600 (Serrano) / A. 10066 (Englebright) would establish a process for tracking parkland alienation. The bill, a priority for Parks & Trails New York and one we worked to have introduced, would impose minimal administrative burden on local governments while providing the public and the state with a means to track alienation actions and hold government accountable. The bill provides for enforcement by the Attorney General, making it even stronger. Read more about the bill in our memo of support.

Though the bill stalled in the Assembly, it passed the Senate nearly unanimously. Parks & Trails New York will be working hard to advance this and other bills to protect local parks in the 2015 legislative session.

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