(Albany, NY) - On Tuesday, June 10th, the New York State Senate passed Senator José M. Serrano's bill S5600, which limits the ability of municipalities to sell off parkland without following established procedures--including the replacement of any public parkland that is taken away from the public.
Public parkland greatly enhances quality of life, community character and acts as an economic engine throughout New York State. Serrano's bill amends the current law to better protect the precious commodity that is public park space. Specifically, the new legislation makes the process of acquiring public park space for private use more stringent and transparent. Under the bill, in order for public park space to be sold off by a municipality, the municipality would be required to provide proper documentation to authorize the sale of land. In addition, the municipality must certify that they are replacing the re-purposed land with new parkland that is of equal or greater in size. Enforcement of these new rules will also be more severe, with violations of the legislation being referred directly to the Attorney General.
"I am excited that this legislation has passed the New York State Senate," said Senator Serrano. "As the Ranking Member of the Senate's Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation, I feel that we all have a responsibility to enhance and protect our precious parkland. My legislation will ensure that any parkland alienation agreement follows a transparent process that inspires public confidence. With the passage of this bill we are a step closer to ensuring that New Yorkers will continue to have access to viable parks and green spaces, which greatly enhances our quality of life. Many thanks to Assemblymember Steve Englebright for sponsoring the bill in the New York State Assembly.
With the bill having passed the New York State Senate, it is now referred to the New York State Assembly for a vote, where it is sponsored by Assemblymember Steve Englebright.