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Published on: May. 18, 2011

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the city’s Board of Aldermen approved changes to the zoning and subdivision sections of the city’s municipal code to promote the preservation of the city’s open space and southern bluff-top views.

“This is a major achievement,” says Hilary Murphy, Weldon Spring’s consulting planner, “because it’s often local ordinances that keep conservation-friendly development from happening.” She emphasizes that the process began with the city’s comprehensive plan, which the local community helped develop. “Since Weldon Spring was formed, there’s been a value for nature. During the comprehensive plan update, we heard from the community that preserving nature and natural values was important to them.”

Weldon Spring’s Planning Commission Chair Mike Mullins, and Mayor Don Licklider, emphasize that providing for the full scope of the community’s values and needs was important. “This type of development will allow landowners to develop and build, but still preserve the ecosystems there. We don’t want to take away people’s rights to develop. It is possible to allow building and still preserve natural values,” Mullins says.

Ordinances such as Weldon Spring’s also assure property buyers that their open views and landscape amenities, such as wildlife habitat, will be protected for the future.

When you’re shopping for a new neighborhood, check the town’s website and contact the city administrator. He or she can tell you whether the town has a conservation-friendly development ordinance or plans to develop one.

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At first glance, the term “conservation-friendly development” seems to be just another way of saying “green building.” But there is a difference. It’s entirely possible to have a development full of energy-efficient houses that also consume lots of wildlife habitat and increase storm water runoff.

Conservation-friendly development complements green building by grouping structures in a way that leaves open space for wildlife. An added bonus of clustering buildings within a development is preserving the “view shed” for residents and community members.

Bill and Paula Frazier had this idea in mind when they approached Brian Burton, who developed Oakbrook, “a community built around nature” in the greater Kansas City area.

“We were Brian’s first buyer,” Bill says. “I feel we got the best lot because it backs up to 35 acres of timber that will never be developed. I grew up hunting and fishing, and I’ve been a lifelong conservationist. We’ve installed trail cameras and really enjoy watching the animals.”

Even though Bill and

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