Review Fees

On October 1, 2020, the Parks and Recreation Department will begin charging review fees for all site plan, subdivision, and other applications which have come in for formal submittal. These fees are associated with reviews only, and are distinct from the parkland fee in lieu and development fee.

Fee levels are based on a 2019 study of review times and staff resources by the consulting firm, Matrix. The fees were subsequently approved as part of the FY2020 budget, which went into effect in October 2019. There was a delay in the effective date of the fees, because of time needed to insert the fees into the City’s AMANDA database. 

Fees will be assessed in the course of review, and will be due prior to approval. The list of review fees is as follows:

Site Plan/Subdivision $717
Site Plan/Subdivision site visit (per visit) $142
Zoning/Rezoning $296
ROW Vacation $296
Development Assessment $148
Development Assessment (with site visit) $346
Municipal Utility District (MUD) $20,090
Planned Development Area (PDA) $20,090
Public Improvement District (PID) $20,090
Planned Unit Development (PUD) $20,090

Link to adopted list of fees (on Page 173-722)

Link to adopting Ordinance

Early Determinations

In 2020, the Development Services Department will begin requiring a parkland early determination letter for all subdivision applications, before allowing them into completeness check.

Early determination letters indicate that PARD has looked at a site and determined the basic parkland requirements – whether land, fees, or a combination will be owed as part of a future development application.  The process is referred to in City Code § 25-1-605 as a “binding determination.” There is no fee for an early determination, and they typically take about two weeks.

To request an early determination letter, email the following items to:

Parkland.dedication@austintexas.gov

  • Owner/Applicant Name
  • Phone and email contact
  • Site address
  • Number of Market rate Units, SMART Housing Certified Affordable Units and Existing Units
  • Information on any ongoing or recent rezoning cases, restrictive covenants, neighborhood or regulating plans on the property

Additionally, please provide a map with the following information:

  • Aerial of site location including size of site in acres
  • Map of walking distance measured along sidewalks in feet to nearby parks
  • The location and size of any CEFs and setbacks existing on the site
  • Concept site plan or site layout if you have one already prepared
  • The location of all existing and proposed: (a)structures; (b) above and in-ground utilities; (c) public and private easements; (d) floodplain, creek buffers or CWQZs

Parkland Dedication Graphic

Parkland dedication is a local government requirement imposed on subdivision and site plan applications mandating the dedication of land for a park and/or the payment of a fee to be used by the governmental entity to acquire land and/or develop park facilities.  The City of Austin passed its first Parkland Dedication Ordinance in 1985, updated in 2007 and again in 2016.

Ordinance

Parkland Dedication Ordinance - In response to Council Resolution No. 20140807-093 the Department issued the Parkland Fee Methodology Report ('Report") on November 19, 2014, which concluded that the existing PLD fee and the formula for determining the amount of land required were insufficient to maintain the current quality of life. On December 11, 2014 the City Council approved Resolution No. 20141211-219 directing the Department to develop a proposed ordinance implementing Report's recommendations. A new Ordinance No. 20160128-86 was adopted on January 28, 2016. For more information on parkland dedication ordinances in general please see the 2010 John Crompton Report.

All parkland dedication ordinances must meet the following criteria:

  1. a calculation to determine dedication requirements and;
  2. adherence to the Nexus Principal and;
  3. limitations on expending fees in lieu. 

Nexus Principle: The principle relates to the establishment of an “essential connection” between the demand generated by a development and the park or park improvement being constructed with the resources provided by the developer. Land or fees must be used to benefit those who will live in the development.  The City of Austin expends fees within 2 miles of a development to ensure the fees benefit those residents. The funds, then, can only be spent on new facilities and not maintenance.

Limitations on expending fees: A reasonable time frame for fund expenditure must be stated. The Austin ordinance states that the fees must be expended within five years from the date they were received, unless less than 50% of the residential units in the subdivision have been constructed. In that case, the period for expenditure is extended another five years. See the timeframe for expenditure. A refund may be requested in writing for any units not constructed not later than 180 days after the expiration of the five years, or 10 years, as applicable. See process for refund.

Parkland Dedication Rules

Rules that govern the administration of Parkland Dedication Land Development Code 25-1-601 to 25-1-609 can be found in the Parkland Dedication Operating Procedures. This document explains adopted rules for land dedication, fee payment and fee expenditure.

Parkland Dedication or Fee in Lieu

A subdivision or site plan applicant shall provide for the parkland needs of the residents by the dedication of suitable land for park and recreation purposes or by payment of a fee in-lieu of land. The City may require dedication of land if the proposed development is in a park-deficient area. An interactive Deficient Park Area Map depicting areas that the director of the Parks and Recreation Department has determined lack sufficient parkland can be viewed on the Property Profile GIS Viewer. To view the parkland deficient area feature class on Property Profile, click on Change visible map layers in the Search & Identify Data tab near the top, clicking on the plus sign next to Long Range Planning on the left panel, checking the box next Parkland Deficient Area, and zooming in until that layer appears

An area is considered park-deficient if there is no park, private parkland open to the public, or school park within ¼ mile inside the parkland dedication urban core or within ½ mile outside the urban core. Inside the urban core, land dedication is capped at 15% of the gross site area unless the Land Use Commission approves increased land dedication to address a critical park shortage or provide connectivity.

Dedication of Parkland: 9.4 acres per every 1000 residents as determined by the following formula: 9.4 X Number of Units X Residents per Unit divided by 1000 = Acres of parkland to be dedicated.

Fee in Lieu of Parkland Dedication:  Step 1: Parkland Cost Factor/Parkland Level of Service=Land Cost Per Person. Step 2: Density X Land Cost per Person = Fee in Lieu of Land by Density.

Park Development Fee: Step 1: Parkland Cost Factor/Parkland Level of Service=Land Cost per Person. Step 2: Density X Park Development Cost Per Person =Parkland Development Fee by Density.

Both these fees are established annually in the fee schedule based on a recommendation by the Director of Parks and Recreation and approved by the City Council .

Parkland Fee Calculation Methodology

2021 Fee Fee In-Lieu of Land Fee Park Development Fee Total Fee per Unit

Low Density Fee (Less than 6 units per acre)

$1,722.22 $811.80 $2,534.02
Medium Density Fee (6 to 12 units per acre) $1,353.18 $637.85 $1,991.03
High Density Fee (more than 12 units per acre) $1,045.64 $492.88 $1,538.52
Hotel/Motel Fee $752.86 $354.87 $1,107.73

Parkland Dedication Fee in Lieu and Development Fee Collection and Expenditure Information are available at  Parkland Dedication Expenditures