My open space Links
My Open Space
Many people worry about California becoming “overdeveloped” with sprawling communities of houses built almost on top of each other. We’re committed to NOT letting that happen.
We believe – and many residents, home builders and public agencies do too – that communities that balance human habitats with natural habitats are both vital and valuable.
We include this section as a resource so that you will be able to recognize, enjoy and, if necessary, advocate for open space in your community.
What is Open Space?“Open space" is a designation commonly used throughout California (as well as other states). Typically open space is defined as a parcel of land in a predominantly open and undeveloped condition that is suitable for any/all of the following:
Open space lands may be preserved, enhanced and restored in order to maintain
or improve the natural, scenic, ecological, cultural, hydrological, or
geological values of the property.
Natural ResourcesSignificant sites may include, but are not limited to the following:
Archeological / Historical Resource:Significant sites must meet certain age criteria (e.g., 75 years, 100 years old) and represent the historical antecedents of the region.
Passive Recreational and Trails Resources:Sites may include but are not limited to:
What are the rules?The exact definition of what constitutes “open space” and what lands can be developed varies widely from city to city -- even cities that are within a few miles of each other. What's allowed or included in the “open space zone” of a particular community closely reflects that city/town's history and the goals/values of its residents.
For example, a city with an agricultural heritage may define “open space” as land designated for the cultivation of livestock and agricultural businesses. This city might require a special-use permit to build public parks or golf courses.
A neighboring city may have the same total amount of "open space" in its ecological resource/parks/open space zone. However, it is not agricultural land because that city is not agricultural. Instead, open space there might consist of "passive ecological areas" and "active recreation areas."
To familiarize yourself with the open space element in California State Law governing city/county general plans visit http://www.sonomatrails.org/docs/cagenpln.htm
What can I do?A good first step is to find out when your city’s open space and conservation plan was adopted or last modified.
Some communities have current open space plans, whereas several were implemented in the 1990s, 1980s and even the 1970s.
You can find out by calling your city’s planning director
directly. For his/her contact information go to:
The Planner’s Book of Lists is also an excellent resource: http://www.calpin.ca.gov/archives/
The other thing you can do is visit communities that feature open
Once you see what a difference open space makes to overall quality of life, we know you’ll want to join the crusade!