The DLC can be a resource to towns and works collaboratively with them in a variety of ways. These include helping them acquire and protect land for parks/passive recreational use, assisting with the protection of local farms and other places that are special to the community, providing training to town officials on the use of conservation easements, reviewing and making suggestions to new Comprehensive Plans and Zoning laws, and preparing resource analyses for large development plans. The below outlines some of the ways we can help.

Municipal Conservation Areas Program

While many local governments want to enhance the quality of life for their citizens by conserving important natural resources and providing recreational opportunities, they often lack the resources, both in terms of funding and expertise. This is where DLC can help. Through our Municipal Conservation Areas Program we offer expert assistance to towns, cities and villages interested in acquiring important open space land for passive, public recreational use providing the public with more opportunities to hike, bird watch or just have a picnic. This program is locally driven, with municipalities identifying potential projects and then asking the DLC to help complete them by raising funds, developing a site and management plan, developing trails, kiosks and other amenities and hosting a grand opening.

Town Hall Partnership Program

The DLC’s Town Hall Partnership Program is aimed at contributing to the conservation and ecological success of the communities we serve. Our work with local municipalities includes assisting with conservation land use planning, open space and farmland protection efforts, biodiversity and conservation mapping projects, scenic road initiatives, reviewing comprehensive open space and farmland protection plans, zoning regulations and giving presentations that address a community’s current open space and conservation needs. The Town Hall Partnership Program gives DLC the opportunity to work with our municipal partners to achieve sound conservation land use practices throughout Dutchess County.

Land Use Education

To teach our local municipal officials the value of conservation land planning, combined with the use of conservation easements, we offer Land Use Education programs for Town and Planning Board members. One of these, entitled Conservation Easements and Subdivisions: What Works and What Doesn’t, is endorsed by the Dutchess County Planning Federation for continuing education credits to help Planning and Zoning Board officials meet the New York State mandatory training requirements. Participants come away with a solid understanding of the benefits of conservation planning and practical ideas and ways to incorporate conservation easements more effectively into the planning and approval process.

Development Proposals

Towns in Dutchess County are increasingly requiring conservation easements in conjunction with large subdivisions. Towns are often not equipped to hold these easements and it is important that a qualified organization, committed to enforcing the easement, be the holder. Towns often look to the DLC as the local respected conservation organization to hold such easements. We consider easements in conjunction with development proposals when invited to be a resource to the Town (not as partner to a developer); the resources to be protected are substantial and there can be significant impact on our landscape. The DLC is involved in the initial conceptual planning to ensure that desired resource protection is achieved.

If you are a town official and would like more information on any of these programs, please contact us at 845.677.3002.