Dive into the ‘Sustainability Spotlight’ by the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, a municipal guide to blending sustainability with land use regulations. Learn how to leverage subdivision regulations to secure valuable open space.

Written by Christine O’Neill, Environmental Planner II

Through their Subdivision Regulations, Planning Commissions may acquire for open space purposes a certain percentage of a property undergoing subdivision. 

Setting environmental standards for these dispositions is a best practice. Many Subdivision Regulations in our region require or recommend certain features to be present in the open space they obtain – like Watertown’s requirement that “at least 50% of the land designated as open space shall be land classified as Upland Soil by the Litchfield County Soil Survey” (Sec 7.5.4.) or Shelton’s prioritization of  “conservation and protection of wildlife and natural or scenic resources” as open space characteristics (Sec. 4-19-1). 

In certain cases, the property may not be suitable as open space. C.G.S. Sec. 8-25b provides Commission a “payment in lieu of” option, allow them instead to take the fair market value of the potential open space and deposit it into a dedicated land acquisition fund. 

NVCOG is working on updating and filling out our Regional Open Space Inventory. Learn more about this project here: https://nvcogct.gov/osi.

This open space, transferred to Southbury as part of the “Renaissance Estates” subdivision (yellow parcel), connects with the much larger, state-owned open space (green parcel).