Conservation development is a zoning technique in which the character defining features of a parcel are identified and protected before land is developed. It differs from traditional development in that assessment of natural resources, not identifying building sites is the first step in the process.
The Environmental Protection Agency and RI Department of Environmental Management have teamed up to offer the communities of Scituate, Foster, Glocester and Burrillville technical assistance to implement conservation zoning in their communities.
The project consultants, Dodson Associates have developed a training manual and associated educational materials to illustrate how flexible zoning works and develop a training course to facilitate implementation in Rhode Island communities.
Conventional zoning follows rigid standards for lot size, road frontage, and other requirements but results in a uniform, grid-like development pattern where most of the open space is consumed.
Conservation development is a zoning technique that is a permits more flexibility in how a parcel is developed, allowing more meaningful open space to be protected.