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Thread: Open space requirements

  1. #1

    Open space requirements

    Rewriting open space regulations for new residential developments.
    How much % do you require, are there requirements for access and street frontage , minimum area & dimensions, amount of formal and informal, maintenance by an association, max slope and amount of floodplain maximum distance from dwelling units? Is the subdivision regulation the appropriate place as opposed to the zoning regulation?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian H's avatar
    Feb 2003
    For new subdivisions I see 10% often as the amount req. here in Florida.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Nov 2002
    15% dedicated open space requirement for subdivisions. Open space can't be more than 50% wetlands. Usually owned and maintained by a homeowners' association or local land trust. Our standard is a minimum frontage of 20'.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    We typically develop a formula based on open space already in the community and open space goals in the plan. This ends up as an area dedication per housing unit. Depending on the size of development and what areas the city has identified for open space acquisition, it may be dedicated within the subdivision, or paid as a fee in lieu of dedication.
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  5. #5
    Aug 2005
    Funky Town, CO.
    I have worked in a community that required 15% open space dedication and one that requires zero for typical single-family detached homes. We just have a park fee in lieu. For attached multi-family and some other development options we require 30%. It could be left in a natural state if it was worth protecting or landscaped. Unless its something the City wants for a park it must be maintained by an HOA. I always try but have not always been able to get some street frontage on these tracts to allow for police and neighbors to monitor the area. Just having a ped path access isolates them too much from the larger community and they can become areas where illegal or undesirable things happen.

    Every community is a little different. I agree with Cardinal, it would be best to start with a open space study and plan and then create subdivision/PUD regulations to implement those goals. Much like impact fees, open space dedication should have a nexus to an established community standard. Also consider what may be appropriate for older areas of town that may be redeveloped. Suburban open space areas can be out of place in older urban districts.

  6. #6
    For 20 or more acres, the subdivider is required to plat a minimum of 500 sq ft for each dwelling unit. Easements, roadways, rights-of-way, and drain ponds cannot be considered open space. All open space shall be usable for normal recreation. Basically, it can't just be open area, you have to put basketball court, play ground equipment, etc into it. Informally, we request that all the open space areas be connected via sidwalks and/or pedestrian walkways. These requirements change for our MR/Multi-family residential and MH/Manufactured Home Park Districts.
    Last edited by Whose Yur Planner; 01 Aug 2006 at 1:31 PM.
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  7. #7

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    It all depends. We have one zoning district in which 75% open space is required, and one in which essentially 0 is required. Should be a function of your comprehensive plan translated into your zoning code.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Jess's avatar
    Jul 2006
    Tip of the Iceberg

    Open space requirements

    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    It all depends. We have one zoning district in which 75% open space is required, and one in which essentially 0 is required. Should be a function of your comprehensive plan translated into your zoning code.
    Each locality has its own regulations when it comes to creating new residential developments. Open space is sometimes dependent on the density of the new community that will be developed. Depending on the type of development, like PUD, mixed-use, high-density residential, medium density or low-density. 70%-30% is most likely the maximum that you can provide. 30% includes roads, easements, pocket parks, main area for community facilities, etc. If the developer is generous to give 50-50 ratio, that's pretty good. Bigger open space with wide roads R.O.W. is recommended if you plan to create a livable or environment-friendly community.

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