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Belmont Open Space Management Plan

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WRA supported the City of Belmont’s Parks and Recreation Department by preparing an Open Space Management Plan (OSMP) and an Addendum to the General Plan EIR to adopt the overarching Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan. Since 2020, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has been preparing a programmatic level 15-year plan for its entire parks, recreation, and open space system. Results gleaned from the City’s robust public involvement process indicated a strong interest in preparing an OSMP that would balance demands for recreation with protecting sensitive biological resources. The city’s two open space areas are surrounded by residential and commercial development, include 10 miles of officially recognized multi-use trails, a perennial stream and lake, and multiple areas with very high wildfire hazard ratings. The project is controversial – one group wants continued multiple recreation uses to continue with minor changes to how sensitive resources are managed, and another group wants the overwhelming emphasis of the OSMP to be on sensitive resource protection, habitat restoration, and limits on recreation use. To prepare the OSMP under an aggressive schedule WRA has completed the following:

  • Review and analysis of City’s existing open space policies and the need for new policies,
  • Existing conditions reports on biological resources, wildfire hazards, and recreation uses,
  • Existing condition report for all open space officially recognized trails and previously unmapped trails,
  • BMP’s for trail construction and maintenance, and visitor management based on “best in class” practices from other state-level guidelines and other recent plans,
  • Development of objective, policies, and implementation actions for sensitive biological resources, recreation uses, and wildfire hazards.

WRA has presented the above referenced deliverables to a park and recreation advisory committee, the City’s Park and Recreation Commission, and City Council on multiple occasions. The City, with heavy involvement from WRA convened an in-person community workshop at a popular trailhead to the Waterdog Lake Open Space to hear public feedback on the existing conditions reports and policy development.

Since February 2022 WRA has worked frequently with the Parks and Recreation Department Director, the City Manager, and the City Attorney, to develop a strategy to review the PROS Plan (which contains the OSMP) adequately under CEQA, avoid litigation, and adopt the PROS Plan. After deciding on the CEQA strategy to utilize the City’s existing EIR prepared for the recent General Plan update, WRA prepared an addendum to the existing EIR. The PROS Plan, OSMP, and EIR Addendum were brought to the City Council and approved in March of 2024.


Project Specifics

Detailed Services

• Open Space Planning
• Policy Evaluation
• Biological Resources Assessment
• Trails Condition and Recreation Assessment
• Wildfire Hazards Analysis
• Plan Implementation
• CEQA Analysis
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