Residents and visitors alike benefit from the spectacular natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. The region’s ecologically diverse native landscapes, including undeveloped coastal dunes and wetlands, rocky shoreline, redwood canyons, Monterey pine terraces, and mixed hardwood flood plains are a major attraction for residents and visitors alike. The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District was formed in order to preserve and protect as much of this natural beauty as possible for future generations.
Pursuant to the authority granted in the Public Resources Code, Section 5500, the voters of Monterey County approved the measure which created the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District in the November election of 1972.
Momentum for a park district for the peninsula had been gathering for some years prior to the election. In March of 1970, the Sierra Club had hosted a forum on the water supply problem on the peninsula. After that meeting, the idea of creating a special district for park and open space was discussed. A year later, the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, and Audubon Club joined forces to create the Committee for Open Space.
In May, 1971, a grassroots effort began to collect 5,000 signatures to place consideration of an open space district on the November ballot. By October, the petition drive had been successful and the board of supervisors placed the Measure A on the ballot. The district boundaries were set to match the Monterey Peninsula College District.
After the successful passage of Measure A, the new Board held its first meeting in December, 1972. The District was entrusted to acquire lands for the express purpose of preserving open space and providing recreational opportunity. Since then, the District has successfully protected approximately 14,000 acres of open space while maintaining balanced budgets and minimal overhead. The District has acquired or helped to acquire a total of 24 parks and open spaces, most recently the acquisition of Palo Corona Ranch, the gateway to Big Sur.
The District has accomplished these successes with funding from a ½ percent allocation of the property tax collected within the District. For every $100,000 of property value, the District receives approximately $5.00 for open space acquisition and operations. Also, the District has been extremely successful in obtaining grants from state and federal sources that have nearly matched every local dollar received.
In 2004, voters in the District approved a ballot measure creating the MPRPD Parks, Open Space and Coastal Preservation benefit assessment district. The voters agreed to an assessment of approximately $22/yr. per single family dwelling equivalent in order to provide funding for MPRPD to continue preserving and protecting parks and open space within the District. The benefit assessment will expire in Fiscal Year 2018-19 but to replace it, in 2016 voters approved a new Community Facilities District which will continue to provide the District with much needed funding beginning Fiscal Year 2019-20.
The District’s current boundaries cover over 500 square miles and include the seven incorporated cities on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel Valley, Pebble Beach and the Big Sur Coast. The District is governed by an elected Board of Directors, representing the citizens in each of five wards.
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