The Chesapeake 2000 agreement called for reducing the rate of sprawl by 30 percent, but that still means that tens of thousands of acres of land would continue to be developed annually, reducing the amount of forests and farmland in the region, and increasing runoff to local waterways.

To help reduce the impact of that new development, the Bay Program’s Land, Growth and Stewardship Subcommittee has worked to write “principles of good development” that Bay jurisdictions are to promote.

Under the draft principles, good development:

  • Maintains the sustainable use of forest and agricultural lands by not fragmenting such lands into pieces or patches that render these uses impractical or uneconomic, or that significantly reduces their quality as wildlife habitat.
  • Would not adversely affect surface or groundwater quality and seeks to maintain or restore the natural hydrologic functions of the site by incorporating environmentally sensitive or low impact development designs, limitations on impervious cover and other innovative storm water techniques.
  • Protects most valued resource lands (to be identified in the Bay Program’s upcoming Resource Lands Assessment or by a locality) and those lands identified by a community for habitat, economic or cultural viability.
  • Protects, conserves or restores natural stream corridors, riparian forest buffers and wetlands.
  • Has a maximum density of one unit per 20 acres in rural areas, while within urban or suburban areas has a minimum gross density of 3 units per acre.
  • Is constructed adjacent to existing development and in areas with adequate water resources and the necessary infrastructure (water, sewer and roads) is in place on the adjacent property prior to development. Any new development not adjacent to existing development should have adequate water resources and the necessary infrastructure, and consist of compact, mixed-use development, including a mix of residential, commercial, employment/office and civic land uses.
  • Is designed to prevent the fragmentation of open space or ecological economic and cultural resource lands and to minimize the number of parcels created to encompass such lands.
  • Is within growth boundaries, growth areas, urban service limits of villages, towns or cities, or other urbanized areas, to the extent such limits are set.
  • Optimizes existing road density and incorporates transportation strategies that minimize new roads and auto dependency.