WHAT IS OPEN SPACE?
Open Space has many definitions; the most important is "any land that is natural and undeveloped." This includes wetlands, woods, fields, wildlife corridors, and more. SOS-Coventry considers farmland a type of open space we wish to preserve.
The Town of Coventry's Conservation Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission have agreed on a definition of open space for our town:
Land that is preserved or restricted for any of the following purposes (with limited or restricted access to the public):
1. Maintains or enhances the conservation of natural, scenic, cultural and historical resources.
2. Protects wetlands/watercourses and other bodies of water.
3. Protects water supply sources.
4. Promotes the conservation of soils and prime farmland.
5. Enhances the public value of abutting or neighboring parks, forests, wildlife preserves, natural reservations and sanctuaries, and/or other open space.
6. Enhances public recreation opportunities.
7. Preserves historic and/or culturally significant sites.
8. Assists in the promotion of orderly growth and development.
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service - Connecticut is the 4th most densely populated state in the country. An increase in sprawl development patterns threatens water supplies, wildlife habitat, agricultural lands, historic resources, and the quality of life for urban and rural communities. In response, Connecticuts citizens have accelerated their efforts to preserve the remaining open space that provides these valuable goods and services for the states current and future residents. They go on to say - Connecticut is among the 12 states with the highest rate of land conversion to urban/suburban. From 1982 to 1997, an additional 4% of the land was developed. Most of this acreage was farmland. Connecticut has made progress in preserving open space and working lands. The state has set a goal to preserve 21 percent of the states land as open space by 2023. In addition, they have a goal of protecting 130,000 acres of working agricultural lands.
Coventry is the Connecticut gateway town to the "Last Green Valley", an area in New England that is relatively undeveloped. SOS-Coventry supports the Green Valley Institute in its goal - "The Green Valley Institute exists to help Heritage Corridor communities and citizens sustain their environment and quality of life while growing their economies."