Municipal Planning

Though conservation easements are generally voluntary, private agreements, there are a number of creative zoning and planning techniques that have easements as their cornerstone. This new perspective about cooperation between landowners, local governments and land trusts has led to some very effective ways of using conservation easements

Cluster Zoning

Alberta's Municipal Government Act allows municipalities to permit increased housing density on a portion of a proposed subdivision in exchange for the delineation of sensitive areas on that parcel where development is not allowed.

Such 'cluster zoning' or 'bonusing' is not a new technique, but the added protection gained by granting a conservation easement is. Previously, the undeveloped land was still open to development in the future if the land use by-law was amended. Whether held by a conservation group or the municipality itself, a conservation easement can provide a perpetual guarantee that the ecologically important features on the undeveloped land are protected.

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