Land-use webinar to focus on owning, managing natural lands

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Planning for open space and owning and managing natural lands will be the topic of a Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

Presenting the 75-minute webinar at noon on April 15 will be Gary Gimbert, Ann Hutchinson and Diane Rosencrance from the Natural Lands Trust, a regional land conservancy with headquarters in Media.

The webinar will describe practical methods for managing natural areas, whether public parkland, residual parcels left undeveloped during a municipality's build-out process, naturalized areas for stormwater management or open space in conservation subdivisions.

"Whether required by zoning regulations as part of a residential subdivision or acquired using public funds, planners often are faced with questions regarding how to regulate and manage open space," said Hutchinson.

"Municipal officials, developers and planners often find themselves faced with opportunities and requests to own open space, and then they are faced with the question, 'How will it be cared for and maintained?'"

The webinar, "All about Open Space -- Owning and Managing Natural Lands," will address how zoning regulations can encourage the dedication of community open space each time a residential property is developed and then offer cost-effective strategies for land management.

"Careful design of open space and plans for how it will be managed can ensure both effective natural resource protection and ease enforcement burdens for municipal staff," said Gimbert.

Finally, the webinar will cover how Act 115 of 2013 has improved Pennsylvania's open-space law, allowing some revenue acquired with a dedicated open space tax to be used for the maintenance and best utilization of open spaces -- a topic to be addressed by Rosencrance.

This webinar is part of a five-part, winter/spring monthly land-use series. The final presentation of the series, "Agri-Tourism for Pennsylvania Communities," will be offered at noon on May 20.

All of these programs are recorded and available for viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $30 for all five webinars and $60 for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at To register for the webinars, visit Penn State Extension's Economic and Community Development Team website.

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Last Updated April 08, 2015