City examines changing park rules

Changes are in the works for rules at Redmond parks that could see alterations to policies dictating behaviors ranging from smoking to pets.

City Park Planner David Shaw, along with communication department and police representatives, presented a proposed process for redesigning park rules.

The current set of regulations hasn’t been updated since 1994.

“We really need a modern set of rules,” Shaw said.

Since the rules were last updated, the city’s population and number of people using public parks has increased significantly.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Redmond had a population of 41,000 in 1994 that has grown to an estimated 59,000 in 2016.

A number of new parks have also been created since the 1990s and more are on their way, such as Downtown Park, which should be open next year.

Shaw said his department is working with the police to figure out the best way to proceed with drafting and implementing updated regulations.

While no specific changes have been proposed, Shaw said they would need to be equitable, applied uniformly, enforceable and sensitive to diverse cultures with a goal of having safe, clean and well-maintained parks.

The city currently owns 46 parks encompassing more than 1,350 acres and more than 36 miles of trails.

Shaw said the rules will be drafted to promote good behavior at parks.

Topics they will be examining include smoking in parks, drone use, electronic bikes, camping, the use of remote controlled modes, hours and dog and pet rules.

Language in the city code will also be updated.

Currently, there are prohibitions against being a “peddler, fakir, mendicant, beggar, strolling musician, organ grinder, exhorter, barker, showman, or bootblacks,” in Redmond park code.

There is also a ban on circuses, carnivals and traveling exhibitions without approval from the city.

Shaw said he hopes to get input from staff, the city council, interest groups and the public before they proceed with drafting the updates.

An information and contact page will be posted on the city’s website in coming weeks, Shaw said.

The city council could vote on a draft in the third quarter of 2017.

Parks have been a reoccurring theme at recent city council meetings. On May 9, a study session was held to discuss raising one-time park development fees paid by developers when a project is completed.

The fees would go toward funding the roughly $50 million budget for park acquisition, design, construction, risk and remodeling through 2030.

Regulations surrounding camping in city parks could also be revised this summer that would direct police not to enforce a ban on sleeping or camping in parks if there are no beds available in local homeless shelters.