Shrewsbury Wildlife Overlay District
In 2008, along with the town plan update, Shrewsbury outlined zoning regulations to more accurately reflect the town's desires as stated in the Town Plan with respect to the preservation of natural resources. Jens Hilke, a Conservation Planning Biologist with the Agency of Natural Resources was able to develop a habitat suitability map for species moving through Shrewsbury that could better identify priority areas that would need protection. Habitat fragmentation was a primary concern as development from nearby ski areas and Rutland becomes more of an issue over time. Corridors are therefore preserved for species such as whitetailed deer, bobcat, black bear, and moose.
Bylaws, Forest Land, Inventory, Land Management, Land Protection, Town Plan, wildlife
After compiling information and deciding on appropriate zoning restrictions, the Planning Commission produced the Wildlife Corridor Overlay Zone which aims to minimize the effect of development in certain priority areas by adopting cluster development strategies. Section 208 of the zoning regulations outlines the Special Features Overlay Zones that aim to protect critical wildlife habitat and aesthetic areas such as deer wintering areas, wetlands, and ridge lines.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Agency of Natural Resources
Rutland Regional Planning Commission
Shrewsbury Planning Commission
The Agency of Natural Resources was critical in providing a tremendous amount of information so trained professionals like Jens Hilke could delineate accurate priority areas for conservation. When working on a town level, a great deal of specificity is required that only professionals and those that live in the area can attain.
Shrewsbury already has fairly strict regulations on zoning and environmental impacts already and its' citizens understood that to implement the vision stated in the Town Plan, requires regulations of some substance. Local landowners recognized the real estate value associated with conserving wildlife and aesthetics. The major challenge for the creation of the new zoning laws was understanding what kind of land one was dealing with and be specific enough with the mapping. The language of the zoning regulations proved to be difficult to write so that it was not too preventative of development while protecting the right resources
Vermont Natural Resources Council