Parkland Alienation (2014-MS-5)

Issued Date
May 15, 2015

[read complete report - pdf]

We also released eleven letter reports to the following municipalities: Towns of Amherst [pdf], Clifton Park [pdf], East Greenbush [pdf], East Hampton [pdf], North Hempstead [pdf], Orangetown [pdf]; the Counties of Onondaga [pdf] and Nassau [pdf]; the Villages of Port Jefferson [pdf] and Round Lake [pdf]; and the City of Rensselaer [pdf].

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess municipalities’ compliance with their Parkland Alienation legislation for the period January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013.


"Parkland alienation" occurs when a municipality wishes to sell, lease or discontinue the use of municipal parkland. In order to convey parkland to a non-public entity, or to use parkland for another purpose, the municipality must receive prior authorization from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) in the form of legislation enacted by the New York State Legislature and approved by the Governor. State Parks strongly recommends that each municipal parkland alienation bill require the purchase and dedication of replacement lands or the setting aside of an amount equal to the appraised fair market value of the lands being alienated for the purchase of additional parkland.

Key Findings

  • Five of the 11 municipalities did not comply with all the requirements of their legislation.
  • One municipality has not yet used the proceeds from its parkland alienation transaction in July 2012 to make capital improvements or acquire new parkland as required.
  • Four of the municipalities did not take steps to determine the fair market value of the parklands alienated or the replacement parcels.

Key Recommendations

  • Review and adhere to the requirements of legislation.
  • Acquire and dedicate additional facilities or capital improvements when needed in accordance with the legislation.
  • Ensure that a fair market value assessment is conducted when appropriate.