Limited Developement Strategies
Landowners who wish to protect wetlands on their property but are
constrained by the need to derive income from the land may consider a
limited development strategy, opting for sensitive development on part of
the property while leaving the more environmentally significant areas
protected. In some cases, limited development may be the only feasible way
to provide habitat protection on a property, particularly in regions where
land values and development pressure are extremely high.
In California, federal and state regulations make the prospects for
developing in wetlands areas extremely daunting. At the same time, because
of their importance to wildlife and water resources, wetlands are of great
interest to land trusts and other conservation groups. An exploration of
limited development options might reveal the best resolution of this
situation. An arrangement is sometimes made, for example, in which the
landowner offers to dedicate to a land trust a conservation easement on the
wetland portion of the property, including perhaps a buffer area of
surrounding uplands. In exchange, the land trust provides the analysis to
delineate the developable land, simplifying the landowner's task of
obtaining the necessary development approvals.
Alternatively, a conservation organization might take on the role of real
estate consultant and work with the landowner to compare various
development options, ranging from construction at the highest allowable
density to designs in which scaled-down or clustered developments are
confined to smaller, less sensitive areas, for the sake of protecting
habitat or open space. A limited development design may emerge as offering
the greatest financial gain, because structures surrounded by permanent
open space can be sold at relatively higher prices.
Protecting land through the limited development approach can be a complex
process, and not all land trusts are in a position to engage in it. If a
organization is unable to participate in such a project, it can usually
direct the landowner to a group that is better qualified to do so.
The Trust for Public Land and, in coastal areas, the State Coastal
Conservancy have considerable experience with this technique. Contact
information for these organizations is included below.
The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national land trust that focuses on
preserving land for open space and public recreation, with an emphasis on
urban areas. It also provides training and technical assistance to other
land trusts and private landowners, and can refer you to the land trust
Contact: The Trust for Public Land's Land Trust Program at (415) 495-4014.
The State Coastal Conservancy
Either the agricultural program or the resource enhancement program at the
Coastal Conservancy can provide technical assistance regarding wetland
property on the coast or on property that affects coastal wetlands. The
Conservancy's nonprofit assistance program can also refer you to a local
Contact: The State Coastal Conservancy at (510) 286-1015.
This file last modified on: Tuesday, November 26, 2002.
Document URL: http://resources.ca.gov/wetlands/introduction.html
Copyright © 1996 California Resources Agency. All rights reserved.