Open space preservation strategies typically fall into one of three different categories: planning, regulation, or acquisition. The Jordan River Commission has developed a summary of available tools and resources for local governments and landowners to preserve and protect sensitive lands, working agricultural properties, and critical habitat areas.
Planning identifies important natural resources, preserved lands, and linkages
- Use the Wasatch Front Regional Council’s (Re)Connect Plan and extensive GIS database to identify local existing preserved lands and important areas for future preservation.
- Inform citizens and local officials of benefits of open space preservation.
- Develop an Open Space Plan or Farmland Preservation Plan.
- Employ flexible development design tools such as conservation subdivision design, clustering, and performance zoning, and PUDs.
Regulation uses local ordinances and state laws to protect important natural resources and lands that surround preserved areas
- Enact overlay ordinances to protect specific resources like steep slopes, stream corridors, and critical habitat.
- Adopt specific open space zoning designations (Salt Lake City example).
- Create a voluntary Agricultural Protection Area.
- Adopt design guidelines to ensure development nearby open space preserves considers and protects resources such as water quality and visual aesthetics.
- Consider requiring conservation easements on wetlands, stream corridors and other important resources as conditions of approval for subdivisions and site plans.
- Inventory, monitor and enforce existing conservation easements, or work with a third party land trust to hold and monitor the easement.
- Implement a transfer of development rights program.
Acquisition obtains land through purchase, “bargain sale” (obtain land at less than appraised value) or donation; includes purchase of full title, development rights and/or conservation easement
- Pass a referendum to establish a local open space bond or open space sales tax dedicated to land acquisition.
- Organize and serve on a local Open Space Committee
- Work with local officials, local and statewide land trusts to develop applications to programs such as the LeRay McAllister Critical Land Conservation Fund, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, NRCS’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Private grants may also be available, such as Wal-Mart’s Acres for America.
- Implement a Purchase of Development Rights program.
Resources and Links
- Tools and Techniques for Preserving Open Space – Jordan River Commission
- Model Riparian Corridor Protection Ordinances Library
- Public Financing of Open Space – Association of NJ Environmental Commissions
- Salt Lake County Open Space Program
- Utah Open Lands
- Trust for Public Lands
- Smart Preservation
- Land Choices