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Urban Area Incentives

Urban areas require innovative solutions. As land is annexed, re-evaluated for future zoning, or considered for project development, numerous opportunities exist to reduce development conflicts with biodiversity conservation.

The following strategies can help conserve or enhance the native biodiversity richness of a parcel or project:

  • Adjust site plans or lot lines between adjacent parcels to create a more favorable distribution of buildable area.
  • Consolidate parcels for the benefit of a larger more flexible site, on which cluster development can be applied where feasible.
  • Cluster development to consolidate units on a property. This may require a variance. Variances allow for the use of land in a way that is not permitted by the dimensional or physical requirements of the zoning law.
  • Rezone, usually to commercial or multi-family residential. This allows equal or greater value to be derived from much less land, allowing natural areas to be left undeveloped.
  • Dedicate open space where previously not required, with a concomitant density bonus on the remainder of the site.
  • Trade adjacent unopened right-of-way for land elsewhere on-site.
  • Acquire lands as open space or wildlife habitat, by greenways or public works departments. Appropriate areas may be used as stormwater storage in place of structural alternatives like regional detention facilities, etc.
  • Purchase and restore degraded lands in desired locations for conservation mitigation sites.
  • Preserve land as a marketing tool for residential or office park developments, to attract consumers who prefer natural settings.
  • Enhance landscapes by creating areas of native biodiversity.
  • Offer Site-Specific Master Plan areas allowing development transfers. These result in opportunities as well as restrictions on certain lands.
  • Provide variances from road standards, zoning setbacks, and infrastructure requirements in exchange for biodiversity conservation.
  • Eliminate avoidable impacts by updating comprehensive plans, capital improvement plans, and road plans.  

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