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Images from Randall Arendt Valley Springs Community Plan presentation 5/28/09

What are Conservation Subdivisions?

  • Conservation Subdivisions are “nature neighborhoods.”  The waters, natural areas, rural character and vistas, working farms, woodlands, and wildlife you cherish are preserved.  They are better places to live.
  • Conservation Subdivisions preserve 40%-70% of the buildable land on a site (in addition to the unbuildable wetlands, floodplains, and steep slopes).
  • Conservation Subdivisions include the SAME number of home sites as allowed in a conventional subdivision but are designed to reduce infrastructure costs, increase open space, and increase property values.
  • Conservation Subdivisions are fair to both developers and landowners.  They are more profitable, faster selling, cost less, and have higher home appreciation rates

Read the LandChoices Fact Sheet on Conservation Subdivisions

Conservation subdivision design establishes higher standards for both quantity and quality of open space that is to be preserved than typical “cluster housing.”  Clustering frequently requires only 25%-30% of the gross land area be conserved, which often includes all unusable land and undesirable land such as stormwater management facilities and land under high-tension power lines.  Conservation design preserves large blocks and corridors of desirable and usable, permanent, interconnected open space and conservation areas.  Land protected remains under private ownership and control—typically a homeowners association or local land trust.

For land that is planned for development, conservation subdivision design is a way to create a better place to live, and an opportunity to eliminate the standard practice of full-density with no open space.

To find out more:

Learn more on the LandChoices website or download the ‘Growing Greener’ bookletspecially posted for Planners

View examples of "conventional" subdivision design compared to "conservation design" posted on the Calaveras Council of Government’s website, from Randall Arendt's 5/28/09 Valley Springs Community Plan presentation

Read the book summary/ order the book ‘Conservation Design for Subdivisions — A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks’ by Randall Arendt (Island Press 1996), and check out Randall Arendt’s website


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