Regional open space plan can help your community plan for the future

By Sarah Hippensteel Hall, Ph.D., manager of watershed partnerships

Could your land use plan be holding back your community?

It could if you’re not utilizing the regional open space plan to safeguard the aquifer’s groundwater and be prepared for the future.

Planning for changing climate
This region is averaging about 5 more inches of precipitation per year than it did 30 years ago. Stronger storms, heavier rainfalls, and destructive erosion are becoming more common.

Businesses looking to grow or relocate want to be sure polluted water or flooding isn’t an issue.

Communities, now more than ever, need to focus on protecting their water, and mitigating flooding and peak flows.

Well-managed open space programs provide a variety of benefits including protecting water and groundwater and preserving functioning floodplains.

A tool you can use – Regional Open Space Plan
According to a recent MVRPC report, the urbanized area has steadily marched outward from the core city of Dayton, consuming farmland and enclosing streams. The additional roads, parking lots, buildings, and transportation and utility infrastructure—even as the regional population holds steady—strains community resources.

To help your community plan for future development, the MVRPC Open Space Plan identifies which specific parts of the region contain critical open spaces that should be protected. Like development, open space conservation can be either planned or haphazard.

Well-managed open space programs protect water and groundwater, preserve functioning floodplains, provide recreation, keep prime farmland, increase greenspace connections, and support wildlife.

Open space is valued for natural services such as groundwater recharge, clean water, wildlife habitat, and the air purifying impacts of forests.

MVRPC’s Open Space Plan refers to several tools communities can use to protect open spaces and preserve farmland.

Tools to help

The Open Space Plan refers to several tools communities can use to protect open spaces and preserve farmland.

  • Farmland preservation
  • Conservation easements
  • Park development and management
  • Conservation design
  • Green stormwater infrastructure

The report/plan can help Miami Valley jurisdictions manage development from an open space perspective.

How MCD can help
MCD staff can guide your community through a local roundtable using a consensus process, bringing together local leaders from government, development, and natural resources.

Together, we’ll create development policies that balance water protection and economic development for your community.

The local roundtable will:

  • Identify existing development rules.
  • Compare them to the principles of better site design.
  • Determine if changes can or should be made to current codes and ordinances.
  • Negotiate and reach consensus on what the changes should be.

Let’s get started!
MCD, in partnership with local sponsors, can assist communities during all phases of a better site design process. Call me at 937-223-1278 ext. 3244 and let’s get started!

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