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Parks and Recreation Commission

Most City Board and Commission meetings are being facilitated through telecommunications to avoid close personal contact during the COVID-19 crisis. Please refer to the current Board/Commission meeting agenda for further information on how to participate, or contact the Board/Commission secretary for further assistance.


The City Council created the Board of Park Commissioners in 1902. For many years the Board supervised the planning and construction of public park facilities.

In May 1929 the Recreation Commission was established by City Council on the recommendation of the Board of Park Commissioners, who felt that City parks would be more frequently used if recreational facilities were included in the parks. For many years recreation facilities and programs were administered by the Recreation Department, and included adult sports, youth sports and social activities, aquatics, cultural arts, senior citizen activities, and special activities for the disabled, as well as community-wide special events on a year round basis.

In 1990, the two departments were combined into the current Parks and Recreation Department. On November 3, 2009, the Board of Park Commissioners and Recreation Commission were officially combined into one Parks and Recreation Commission.

General Functions

  1. Act in an advisory capacity to the City Council in all matters pertaining to parks, recreation, beaches, creeks, plazas, parkways, and street trees.
  2. Consider the annual budget for parks, recreation, beaches, creeks, plazas, parkways, and street tree purposes during the process of its preparation and make recommendations with respect thereto to the City Council and the City Administrator.
  3. Assist in the planning of parks, recreation, beaches, creeks, plazas, and street trees for the inhabitants of the City, promote and stimulate public interest therein, and to that end solicit to the fullest extent possible the cooperation of school authorities and other public and private agencies interested therein.
  4. Perform such other duties not inconsistent with this Charter as may be prescribed by ordinance.


Committee Functions

Seven members (one member may be an individual of age 16 years of older).

One youth intern, who is not a member of the Commission, and is a high school student.


Must be qualified electors of the City. Notwithstanding the eligibility requirements specified in Section 802 of the City Charter, Section 809 of the City Charter, as amended by the voters of the City on November 3, 2009, (1) member of the Parks and Recreation Commission may be an individual of age sixteen (16) years or older who resides in the City but is not a qualified elector. The City Council may, but is not required to, appoint a youth member to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

One youth intern shall be a high school student volunteer who resides within the Santa Barbara High School District or attends other high schools within the City limits and is nominated by the principal of the student's high school. The student shall be either in their junior or senior year of high school and shall be and remain a student in good standing as is determined by the high school. A student that graduates shall not serve for more than three (3) months following graduation.

Length of Term Four years and until successors are appointed. Staggered terms expire on December 31 of the appropriate year. Youth interns will serve one year terms starting July 1 through June 30.
Meeting Schedule The Commission meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber, City Hall, 735 Anacapa Street. *During the months of November and December, the Commission meets on the third Wednesday of the month.
Time Involved Approximately 10 - 20 hours per month for meetings and related activities.
Financial Disclosure Requirement Members must file a Statement of Economic Interests upon appointment, annually and when leaving the advisory group.
Ethics Training Requirement The City of Santa Barbara requires members of this commission to take City ethics training within one year after member is appointed or reappointed. 
Compensation None.
Staff Parks and Recreation Department,
(805) 564-5430
Reference Measure C, November 3, 2009, General Municipal Election; City Charter Sections 800 - 805 and 809; Municipal Code Section 2.08.020.F; Resolution Nos. 03-006, 95-158 and 79-113.

Last Updated: Jun 9, 2020
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