Pennsylvania Sea Grant staff continue to work with municipalities, developers, and property owners on the use of a conservation design approach in new residential developments in the Erie urban area. With conservation design, property values remain strong, which thereby provide the municipality with a stronger, more permanent tax base. The natural environment also benefits because corridors of green space remain intact, providing habitat for wildlife, with a reduced amount of stormwater runoff, while maintaining water quality. Below are a few conservation design-related projects our staff have led:
Crown Point Subdivision: In 2006, Pennsylvania Sea Grant contracted Laird Associates to prepare a conservation and cost differential between a conventional and conservation subdivision for a 63-acre parcel in Millcreek Township. The results of the analysis suggest profit margins for the developer can be greater using conservation design, while, at the same time, retaining over 60% of the original parcel as open space. With conservation design, property values remain strong, which thereby provide the municipality with a stronger, more permanent tax base. The natural environment also benefits because corridors of green space remain intact, providing habitat for wildlife, with a reduced amount of stormwater runoff, while maintaining water quality. Click here to view Crown Point Subdivision presentation.
Conservation Design Ordinances: Pennsylvania Sea Grant provided technical assistance to the two most populous suburban townships in Erie County as they updated their zoning ordinances. Both ordinances provide developers with incentives to construct conservation design subdivisions and more traditional urban developments, and serve as models for other local municipalities.
In Harborcreek Township, Pennsylvania Sea Grant introduced the concept of conservation design to the municipality and assisted with drafting the ordinance language. In March 2010, Harborcreek Township approved updates to its comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance to allow for conservation residential development and traditional neighborhood design in the municipality. The township approved its first conservation subdivision site plan incorporating the new ordinances in September 2010. In Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania Sea Grant was invited to work with the township committee to draft language for a new ordinance. Millcreek Township incorporated sustainable land development regulations, including traditional neighborhood development, into its new zoning ordinance in August 2011. This was the first update to the township’s zoning ordinance since 1974.