In one of my planning classes, we've been assigned a group project in which we develop a series of best practices to guide planning in a town at the edge of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
The town my group is working with is Rogers, a small town at the Northwestern edge of the Twin Cities metro. It is a small town within a much larger township, with which there is an orderly annexation agreement. By the year 2030, Hassan Township will be completely taken over by the City of Rogers. There are some unique environmental assets in Hassan Township, where development is very low density, which need to be preserved as the city expands and brings higher-density growth.
I'm developing some suggestions of environmental best practices, that will also play a role in a parks system.
I'm looking for some ideas about how these could be implemented, and especially some examples of other towns around the country that have achieved these goals in innovative and successful ways.
Preserve patches of environment assets
Protect important environmental assets from being developed, and secure them as public land.
Some ways I think this could be achieved are through cluster development in the areas surrounding these assets and acquiring easements (perhaps with the aid of land trusts).
Create a conservation corridor
Rogers and Hassan Township have proposed a wetlands conservation corridor, a broad belt running through the township, south of where high-density development exists in Rogers.
Some ways I think this could be achieved are through acquisition for parkland, acquiring easements, and limiting growth and street connections south of the corridor.
Create a system of small, easily accessed parks, as opposed to one or two very large parks.
Parks should ideally be within walking distance of all houses. At least, they should require no more than a five-minute drive.
I think this could be achieved through acquisition of single lots in Hassan Township, which typically has 5-acre lots. Park requirements could also be made part of the subdivision regulations.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions/examples!