Open Space Preservation Tools

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


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


Resources and Links