Conservation Restrictions in Conservation Subdivisions
Conservation Restrictions inConservation SubdivisionsJoel Russell and Robert LeviteJune 2012
Conservation Subdivisions• Purpose: to preserve important open space whileallowing compatible development; also called Clustering,OSRD, NRPZ, flexible development, etc.• Statutory framework: Ch 40A, Sec. 9; Home RuleAmendment; Ch. 184, Sec. 31-33; Subdivision ControlLaw (Ch. 41)• Why a CR? Why not note on plan or deed restriction?• Relationship to OSRP, trail networks, town master plan,CPA, APR program, self-help grants, etc.• Importance of Conservation Analysis
- Conservation analysis ensuresthat a mandated conservationrestriction achieves its purpose.- It should be done in cooperationwith the land trust that will be theprospective grantee of therestriction.
Step 2: Identify Site Constraints(primary conservation areas)
Step 3: Identify Natural and CulturalFeatures (secondary conservation areas)
MATURE BEECH STAND- Need to protect trees androot systems from damageWOOD LOT- Provides visual bufferfrom adjacent offsitedevelopmentPRIME AGRICULTURAL SOILS- Preserve for agriculturaluseSTONE WALL- Visual and culturalresource
ROLLING LANDFORM-Contrasts with flat agricultural fields andwetlands-Grading should reflect rolling characterSTREAM CORRIDOR-Provides visual interest and ecologicalbenefits-Protect riparian bufferHISTORIC MILL RUINS-Has educational value as a point ofinterest along public trail and road.ROAD VIEWSHED-Preserve rural road edge (i.e. landform,vegetation, shoulder)-Opportunity for natural screening(existing/new) of new structures from road
Look at Context of Town Open Space Planning andLinkages
Step 4: Conservation Findings(before doing a development plan)• Preserve prime agriculturalland and beech stand• Preserve stone walls• Preserve historic mill ruins• Preserve “Unbuildable Land”(10.5 acres of floodplain,wetlands, stream, steep slopes)• Provide visual buffer fromroad
Natural Features and Conservation Findings• Do not develop onsteep slopes• Protect views ofhillside• Minimize disturbanceof water resources• Protect the bestfarmland• Maintain intact tractof wildlife habitat• Provide visual bufferfrom road
Conservation Analysis – Summing Up• Conservation Analysis puts the community in the driver’s seat toensure that preserved land has conservation value and is not just“leftover land.”• Should be done before any subdivision design occurs and beforethe formal approval process begins.• Ties in the community’s comprehensive plan and open space andrecreation plan• Informs decisions on uses, management, and ownership of openspace land , establishing the basic terms of the conservationrestriction• Should not be confused with minimum open space or densitycalculation.
GETTING BOARDSTOGETHER Townwide discussion on communication betweenboards Required: Plg., ConsComm; Should includeOpen Space, BoH, CPA; Ag Comm. Key: local and/or regional land trust Consider town bylaw for active cooperation onhow and under what circumstances open spaceconnected to OSRD/NRPZ to be preserved; Jointboard discussions Ensure Plg. Bd. has ability to standardize allconditions and standards
Initial Concerns and Issues Adequate Plg Bd. Record – Historical; usefulto other boards (ConsComm; Assess.; BOH;written record Plg Bd hiring of experts to ensure quality ofconservation analysis and relationship to otherprotected lands within the town Complete survey of property and land to beprotected; markers at all angles Resolve public access issues early on
Additional Concerns and IssuesPlg. Bd. to ensure what is supposed to happen,happens; bond; road hold-back; other conditionsPlg. Bd. order that open space area/buffer not bepart of staging area during constructionInclude periodic review and a final walkthru ofdevp. before releasing bond or road hold back,etc.
Responsibilities- Funding from developer to cover initialmonitoring/stewardship; baseline documentationreport (BDR); Photos and GPS coordinates- Respons. of each party: process for funding tocover annual stewardship, monitoring, repair;- Required membership for homeowners assn;- yearly fee for maintenance; automatic lien provisions- Consider town ordinance that preserves thecontinuity of homeowners assn.
Cons. Restr. Concerns CR devp. )Plg. Bd, ConsComm, Open Space, local land trust, Ag.Comm.; use state model Who holds CR/ fee: town, land trust, homeowners assoc., othernon-profit; Deadline for recording CR: sooner, not later Make CR condition of approval; CR recorded and referenced ondefinitive plan Include CR provision for back-up CR holder Baseline Documentation Report (BDR); use photos and GPScoordinates
Additional Considerations Plg. Bd. determination on detention andretention ponds, swales re: maintenance,repair, replacement (POTW) Memorialize decisions on permanent signagefor access, for public usage, if any; forabutters; banned activities Consider town bylaws/regulations involvingprotected property – allows for better commun.between entity doing enforcement and localpolice