FAQ

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What is “open space”?

Our working definition of open space is the network of permanently protected public and private lands that provide recreational, environmental, and social value to Windham.

These lands may be undeveloped natural spaces, places to access rivers, ponds and lakes, working farmlands and woodlots, or more developed parks, playgrounds and recreational field spaces. These places provide physical access to recreational assets like trails, water, and fields or visual access to scenic views of water, fields and distant hills that provide a sense of rural character. Open spaces may be large properties that provide significant ecological value or small parcels of land within neighborhoods that serve as important gathering places or have smaller scale recreational amenities.

Why is it important to have an Open Space Plan?

Rural character is central to Windham’s identity as a community. Being proactive about open space in the face of strong residential growth pressures will help preserve community character and ensure that Windham’s most important open spaces will remain available for future Windham residents. Thinking about how to manage and develop Windham’s current open spaces will add value for today’s residents. Finally, building partnerships with organizations that value conservation and outdoor recreation will help the town meet its own open space goals.

Haven’t we already done this work?

It is true that the Comprehensive Plan adopted in June 2017 prioritized recommendations to minimize the amount of growth and change in Windham’s rural areas and to be proactive about working with partners to permanently protect important rural places (see “Big Thing #3 - Invest in Rural Windham to Keep it Rural”). The Comprehensive Plan, however, specifically recommended a more detailed planning effort to get to identify the specific types of places Windham should be working to protect and to further develop the specific options recommended for protecting those places.

The Town is also in the midst of other zoning and policy work for rural Windham, including changes that might limit the amount of development in any given year and buffer requirements to screen that development to minimize impacts of new development as viewed from roads. Conversations around these potential changes, as well as other zoning options that were not a good match for Windham at this time, have been discussed since late 2017. This open space plan is not just for the parts of town considered “rural Windham” but will also consider open space within North Windham, South Windham and Windham Center.

These planning efforts and all of the good public input and discussion that characterized that work will help inform the process and recommendations of this effort.


What is “open space”?

Our working definition of open space is the network of permanently protected public and private lands that provide recreational, environmental, and social value to Windham.

These lands may be undeveloped natural spaces, places to access rivers, ponds and lakes, working farmlands and woodlots, or more developed parks, playgrounds and recreational field spaces. These places provide physical access to recreational assets like trails, water, and fields or visual access to scenic views of water, fields and distant hills that provide a sense of rural character. Open spaces may be large properties that provide significant ecological value or small parcels of land within neighborhoods that serve as important gathering places or have smaller scale recreational amenities.

Why is it important to have an Open Space Plan?

Rural character is central to Windham’s identity as a community. Being proactive about open space in the face of strong residential growth pressures will help preserve community character and ensure that Windham’s most important open spaces will remain available for future Windham residents. Thinking about how to manage and develop Windham’s current open spaces will add value for today’s residents. Finally, building partnerships with organizations that value conservation and outdoor recreation will help the town meet its own open space goals.

Haven’t we already done this work?

It is true that the Comprehensive Plan adopted in June 2017 prioritized recommendations to minimize the amount of growth and change in Windham’s rural areas and to be proactive about working with partners to permanently protect important rural places (see “Big Thing #3 - Invest in Rural Windham to Keep it Rural”). The Comprehensive Plan, however, specifically recommended a more detailed planning effort to get to identify the specific types of places Windham should be working to protect and to further develop the specific options recommended for protecting those places.

The Town is also in the midst of other zoning and policy work for rural Windham, including changes that might limit the amount of development in any given year and buffer requirements to screen that development to minimize impacts of new development as viewed from roads. Conversations around these potential changes, as well as other zoning options that were not a good match for Windham at this time, have been discussed since late 2017. This open space plan is not just for the parts of town considered “rural Windham” but will also consider open space within North Windham, South Windham and Windham Center.

These planning efforts and all of the good public input and discussion that characterized that work will help inform the process and recommendations of this effort.