Open Space Map (3mb)

City of Shelton Open Space Marker

open space marker

This marker is used to identify Public Open Space owned by the City of Shelton.  It does not mark the exact location of the property line and may be as much as 100 feet away from the boundary, depending on site conditions.  The Conservation and Pedestrian Easements markers have a similar look but different text.

Land Trust Marker

The Land Trust is a private, non-profit group that owns 364 acres of open space in Shelton, marked with these signs.  People frequently confuse the Land Trust with the City of Shelton.

Wetlands Marker

These rectangular wetlands marker may be found in some newer subdivisions, usually on 4x4 posts. They mark the location of areas regulated by the Shelton Inland Wetlands Commission. These are generally on private property and are not related to open space. 

Open Space Plan 0f 2009

Conservation's Open Space Plan is a supplement to the Planning and Zoning Commission's Plan of Conservation and Development.

View the plan online (hard copies may be purchased from the Planning and Zoning office, City Hall Room 303):

Executive Summary

This Open Space Plan was prepared by the Conservation Commission and adopted by the Planning and Zoning Commission on February 10, 2009 as a supplement the 2006 Plan of Conservation and Development. It replaced the Open Space Plan of 1993 upon its effective date of February 20, 2009.

Open space lands are a critical component of a balance community. Conservation areas provide recreational opportunities to residents, enhance the esthetics of the community, and improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat. Compared to residential development, these areas reduce the tax burden by reducing traffic, school enrollment, and other infrastructure demands.

The City of Shelton’s goal is to preserve at least 3,060 acres, or fifteen percent of the land area, in the form of locally controlled “community” open space, including City of Shelton Public Open Space, privately held farmland preserved through the purchase of development rights, and lands owned by the Shelton Land Conservation Trust. Properties managed by the state have historically been excluded from the community open space goal. A total of 2,700 acres (13.2%) have now been acquired for open space, although not all parcels are permanently protected open space as some these of these lands were purchased for potential provision of future roads or other facilities and may be removed from later inventories. To meet this goal, the City needs to acquire roughly 450 acres of additional open space through a combination of subdivision set-asides and the purchase of land and development rights. There are about 3000 acres of vacant or underdeveloped land remaining in Shelton.

The quality of the open space inventory should be enhanced, whenever possible, so that it does not exist solely of wetlands or steep slopes, is accessible to the general public, and is contiguous with existing open space. Continuous, interconnected open space properties provide more ecological and recreational benefits as compared to scattered fragments of land, and for this reason the greenway program has been expanded.

Four conceptual greenways were established in 1993: The Housatonic River, Far Mill River, Means Brook, and Shelton Lakes Greenways. Conceptual greenways constitute areas of special interest, within which the City may prioritize open space purchases and review proposed developments for impacts to the greenway. Substantial progress has been achieved in acquiring properties within these greenways, particularly within the Shelton Lakes Greenway, which now contains over 450 acres of contiguous open space and ten miles of hiking trails. This Plan recognizes three new greenways: Long Hill, Trap Falls and Ivy Brook Greenways.

The Open Space Plan of 1993 focused primarily on open space acquisition. During the intervening years, our open space inventory has more that doubled as the City acquired open space at an average rate of over 125 acres per year to keep pace with rapid development. This Plan addresses increasingly important management issues, including the rising demand for facilities such as community gardens and ballfields.

Farmland preservation is a key component of this plan, particularly within the White Hills, where Shelton is ideally suited for agritourism. The formation of a White Hills Agricultural district is encouraged. An agricultural district would be an overlay area of special interest, similar to our greenways concept, designed to focus attention on Shelton’s remaining farmland. The district could be used for marketing purposes, to promote agritourism, and to obtain agricultural grants.

The purchase of development rights allows landowners to continue farming their land, while preserving it from housing developments. However, successful farmland preservation efforts utilize more than land preservation, since farming must be made economically viable for it to continue. Farmer’s Markets, community marketing, flexible zoning, “right to farm” ordinances, compatible attractions, and preservation of the rural and scenic atmosphere help to keep farmers in business.

Resources valued by the community such as historic sites, scenic features, sensitive or unique ecosystems, trails, or waterways should be preserved whenever possible. A Community Resources Inventory Committee should be established to identify and prioritize such features in the City so they may be incorporated into the GIS system and used for planning purposes.