City staff was asked to review the operation hours for City Parks, City Facilities, and City-Owned Open Space. During the staff review process of Municipal Code Chapter 12.32 - City-Owned Open Space and Chapter 12.40 - Parks and Recreational Facilities, it was apparent that both chapters needed a thorough review, as both chapters were originally adopted in the early 1990’s. During the review process, staff focused on making administrative updates such as eliminating outdated language, complying with recent changes in law, correcting code references, improving language consistency and establishing additional rules designated to protect the health, safety, and welfare of City residents, businesses, and visitors of City Parks, City Facilities, and City-Owned Open Space.
On February 20, 2019, staff presented recommendations for Park Rules updates to the Parks and Recreation Commission. Recommendations included definition enhancements, modifications to vehicle authorization, waste liquids and refuse, and park hours along with adding sections for feeding or harassing animals, prohibiting vehicles overnight, and prohibiting unmanned aircraft and vehicles.
At the March 23, 2019 City Council meeting, staff brought forth the Commission-approved recommendations to Chapter 12.40 – Parks and Recreational Facilities. Upon second reading, after some discussion, Council declined to adopt the ordinance as proposed and requested staff to return to review the use of drones and wheeled toys. Staff took this opportunity to reassess Chapter 12.40 – Parks and Recreational Facilities entirely and make necessary deletions, administrative updates, and additions. As explained below, regulations regarding the use of drones has been updated to comply with federal law which preempts the City from regulating drone overflight. On January 14, 2020 the City Council addressed wheeled toys at the meeting as part of a larger discussion provided by the City Manager’s Office related to permissible and prohibited locations of wheeled toys. In the ordinance introduced that evening and subsequently adopted, the City Council adopted Section 10.32.040 which prohibits wheeled toys in Community Park, Grand Avenue Park, Veteran’s Park, the Chino Hills Community Center, and the McCoy Recreation and Equestrian Center. Wheeled toys will be permitted in all other parks.
On January 15, 2020, the Parks and Recreation Commission reviewed the proposed revised ordinances - Chapter 12.32 and Chapter 12.40 - and recommended that they be adopted. Since that recommendation, City staff has made corrections and also further clarified drone regulations in parks where permitted, as noted below.
The key areas that have been addressed through updates to Chapter 12.32 and Chapter 12.40 are as follows:
- Removal of Certain Sections From Chapter 12.40 (Parks and Recreational Facilities) Because Administrative Policies Now Regulate These Subjects – Multiple sections have been removed from the CHMC Chapter 12.40 because over the years the Council has addressed the subjects of these sections in tailored Council-approved Administrative Policies on Multiple Facility Reservations, City-Sponsored Uses, User Groups, Recurring Use, Nonrecurring Use, Exemption, Scheduling Priorities, Sportfields and Facilities, Fee Payments, Sales and Uses, Denial of Facility Use, Fees for Use, and Meetings. Administrative Policies are easier to amend than Ordinances, and these detailed policies more appropriately regulate these facilities. Therefore, staff removed these now irrelevant, and potentially conflicting, sections from the Chapter.
- Authorization Updates for Administrative Purposes – Many actions provided for in both chapters required the approval of City Council. As the City and the number of parks, facilities and programs have grown, requiring Council approval for minor decisions has become cumbersome and unwieldy. Staff recommends that these decisions instead be made by the City Manager, department directors, or designees, as appropriate.
- Park and Open Space Hours – This section in the Parks Ordinance was previously titled “Loitering at Night.” The title “Park Hours” is more appropriate because this section regulates when the parks are open. Staff recommends amending this section so that the hours that parks are open is based on the varying daylight hours throughout the year. Regulating with different Summer hours and Winter hours is not recommended because the sunlight changes do not correspond exactly with these times. Therefore, staff recommends that time frames (30 minutes prior to sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset) be the basis for determining Park Hours, except where the Council has adopted different hours by administrative policy. Staff also recommends that the hours for open space be based on the varying daylight hours throughout the year.
- Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft and Toy Vehicles – While take-off and landing of unmanned aircraft would be prohibited over the open space, Staff recommends that the take-off and landing of unmanned aircrafts be permitted at all City parks with the exception of Community Park, Grand Avenue Park, Veteran’s Park, the Chino Hills Community Center, and the McCoy Recreation and Equestrian Center. Unmanned aircrafts are being prohibited at the specified parks for safety purposes due to high traffic from sports organizations and various special events. Gas-powered remote-controlled toy vehicles are prohibited at all parks and recreational facilities and in the open space.
- Parks in which it is recommended to allow the use of toy vehicles are the same as those for unmanned aircrafts, but due to the high popularity of the park, the water feature and 3 reservable gazebos, staff is recommending English Springs Park be added to this list of parks in which toy vehicles are prohibited as well.
- On the suggestion of one of the Parks and Recreation Commissioners, City Staff has also included reasonable restrictions on take-off and landings of unmanned aircraft in the parks where take-off and landing is allowed.
- Alcoholic Beverages – Initially, alcoholic beverages were completely prohibited in the parks, however, an exception has been made for specific City-Sponsored events or special events approved by the City Manager or designee in an effort to enhance events in an appropriate and safe manner.
- Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices and Service Animals sections were added to both Chapters to comply with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws and policies.
- Penalties - While both chapters include similar sections, penalties for violations for these regulations vary; infractions for Chapter 12.40 Park and Facilities Use Regulations and misdemeanors for Chapter 12.32 City-Owned Open Space Use Regulations. City staff deemed it appropriate to leave these existing penalties as City-Owned Open Space areas poses a higher risk of fire and damage to the land and habitat, and there is less city staff supervision. It is the City’s practice to emphasize code compliance by education and prevention as a first step.
- Trail Use Rules - A notable addition to the Open Space chapter is Section 12.32.170 Trail Use. The purpose of these regulations is to recognize that the multi-use trails in Chino Hills are for the use and enjoyment of the public; it is in the public’s interest that trail use laws be adopted to protect the safety and welfare of those using these trails.
The list below shows staff’s complete proposed changes and updates to Chapter 12.40 – Parks and Recreational Facilities. The new order of sections can be found in the attached draft of the proposed Ordinance.
Changes to 12.40 - Parks and Recreational Facilities
- Section Deletion
- 12.40.040 – Multiple facility reservations
- 12.40.050 – City-sponsored uses
- 12.40-060 – User groups
- 12.40-070 – Recurring use
- 12.40.080 – Nonrecurring use
- 12.40.090 – Exemption
- 12.40.100 – Scheduling priorities
- 12.40.110 – Sportfields and facilities
- 12.40.120 – Fee payments
- 12.40.130 – Sales and uses
- 12.40.150 – Denial of facility use
- 12.40.160 – Fees for use
- 12.40.320 – Meetings
- Administrative Updates (Updated Law/Language Consistency/Code References/Policy)
- 12.40.010 – Equal opportunity
- 12.40.020 – Reserved use
- 12.40.030 – Neighborhood park (unreserved) use
- 12.40.140 – Inclement Weather
- 12.40.170 – Definitions
- 12.40.190 – Operations of vehicles
- 12.40.200 – Solicitation prohibited
- 12.40.210 – Prohibition of animals in park
- 12.40.220 – Amplified sound in parks
- 12.40.230 – Prohibition of firearms, fireworks, toy weapons
- 12.40.240 – Prohibition of dangerous weapons
- 12.40.250 – Damaging property
- 12.40.260 – Damaging land
- 12.40.280 – Water
- 12.40.290 – Fires and fireplaces
- 12.40.300 – Waste liquids and refuse
- 12.40.310 – Loitering at night
- 12.40.330 – Alcoholic beverages
- New Regulations Added
- 12.40.390 – Feeding, Harassing, or Hunting Wildlife Animals
- 12.40.400 – Unmanned Aircraft and Toy Vehicles
- 12.40.410 – Professional Filming and Still Photography
- 12.40.420 – Duty to Care for Animals
The following are staff’s proposed changes and updates to Chapter 12.32 – City-Owned Open Space Use Regulations, which has not been shared with the City Council previously.
Changes to Chapter 12.32 – City-Owned Open Space
- Administrative Updates (Updated Law/Language Consistency/Code References/Policy)
- 12.32.010 - Definitions
- 12.32.020 - City-Owned Open Space Hours
- 12.32.030 - Prohibition of firearms, fireworks, toy weapons, toy rockets, and model rockets.
- 12.32.040 - Prohibition of dangerous weapons.
- 12.32.050 - Damaging property in the City-Owned Open Space.
- 12.32.060 - Damaging land.
- 12.32.070 – Water
- 12.32.080 – Fires
- 12.32.090 – Waster liquids and refuse
- 12.32.100 – All motorized vehicles
- 12.32.110 – Unmanned Aircraft and Vehicles
- 12.32.120 – Smoking
- 12.32.130 – Feeding, Hunting, or Harassing Wildlife Animals
- New Regulations Added
- 12.32.140 – Restrictions upon Animals in City-Owned Open Space
- 12.32.150 – Duty to care for animals
- 12.32.160 – Camping
- 12.32.170 – Trail Use
- 12.32.180 – Special Events in City-Owned Open Space
- 12.32.190 – Flying Hot Air Balloons
- 12.32.200 – Alcoholic Beverages
- 12.32.210 – Amplified Sound Prohibited
- 12.32.220 – Professional Filming and Still Photography
- 12.32.230 – Controlled substances
- 12.32.240 - Duty to comply
- 12.32.250 - Solicitation
- 12.32.260 - Penalties for Violations
As part of this project, City staff will be replacing all Park and Facility signs, as well as adding signage for City-Owned Open Space. The Parks and Recreation Commission has visited all parks, and designated appropriate locations within the parks for signage to be placed. City-Owned Open Space rules and regulations will be placed at all 14 trailhead locations within each kiosk.
This proposed action is exempt from additional environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code §§ 21000, et seq., “CEQA”) and CEQA regulations (14 California Code of Regulations §§ 15000, et seq.) because it consists only of minor revisions and clarifications to existing regulations and specification of procedures related thereto. The ordinances, therefore, do not have the potential to cause significant effects on the environment. Accordingly, this action does not constitute a "project" that requires environmental review (see specifically 14 CCR § 15378 (b)(4-5)), and it is exempt from CEQA review under 14 Cal. Code Regs. § 15061(b)(3). Further, these ordinances are enacted to ensure the maintenance, restoration, or enhancement of natural resources and the environment in the City Parks and City-Owned Open Space, so are also exempt from CEQA review pursuant to Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15307 and § 15308.