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Putting a Little Green in Our Lives

December 15, 1985

Re the "greenbelt quandary":

In your story (Nov. 25) on Orange County's policy of setting aside and neglecting open space dedicated by developers and intended for local public parks, a disgruntled homeowner and a spokesman for the building industry complained that land designated for local parks often goes to weeds because the county lacks funds to develop it into recreation areas.

State law requires that, for every 1,000 people added to the total population, a developer must dedicate 2.5 acres of land for local public parks.

These parks are separate from the much larger regional parks that are acquired through dedication after complex negotiation with landowners.

The neighborhood parks, on the other hand, are added with each new tract of 50 homes or more as they are built.

If it were left to the generosity of developers and builders, there would be very few local neighborhood parks in the county. The law requiring the dedication of land is a good one and should not be abandoned simply because park improvement lags behind the growth of new homes.

When funds become available (and there are a number of ways this can be arranged), the parkland will be there and the unsightly weeds cn be replaced with trees, play equipment, benches and grass.

Local parks and the open spaces they provide are of great value to all citizens, whether or not they use the parks for recreation. Open spaces provide us visual relief, their trees help clean the air, they are a refuge for birds and small animals that brighten and enrich our lives. And they announce to the world that we in Orange County care about the quality of life in our communities.

Instead of grumbling about the weeds, those homeowners should work together to figure out a way to get their local park developed. An attitude of enthusiasm and willingness to cooperate might just be the answer!

VIRGINIA CHESTER

Villa Park

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