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Thread: Conservation development guidelines

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    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Conservation development guidelines

    Does anyone have some good guidelines for the dimensions and shape of open space in conservation developments?
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tom R View post
    Does anyone have some good guidelines for the dimensions and shape of open space in conservation developments?
    I don't know how you can regulate the shape of open space (other than the minimum percentage of the gross area that has to be set aside as open space). Each site is going to be different: different soils, topography, natural and man-made features. One of the many goals of conservation developments is to preserve and/or enhance these natural features, so the open space/developed area are going to be adjusted accordingly.

    Instead, I would look for conservation developments that share certain characteristics: smaller lot sizes (>10,000 SF), smaller setback requirements (10',5' or even zero lot line for cluster housing), reduction in pavement width (>20' for a two-way road) to lessen the impact of stormwater run-off, encouraging bioswales and/or raingardens into front and side yard setbacks, encouraging landscaped islands in eyebrow cul-de-sacs, etc.

    Rural by Design and Conservation Design for Subdivisions by Randall Arendt are two very well-written books that should offer some insight.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The developer's interest is to have the lots configured in a way that minimizes the number of other homes that can be seen from any lot. This will influence the way a good designer will lay out the development. On the other hand, the community should be concerned (as nrscmid notes) with preserving important ecological features, and also with ensuring that open spaces are adequately sized and contiguous. I'd recommend using guidelines instead of criteria within the ordinance, or at least build in flexibility to attemp to meet both needs.
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