7.12 Location of Natural-Recreational-Agriculture

.1 The location of open space conserved through compact residential development shall be consistent with the policies contained in these provisions and other long range documents adopted by the Town of Huntersville. All lands within areas required to be maintained as open space shall be protected by a permanent conservation easement, prohibiting further development, and setting other standards safeguarding the site's special resources from negative changes.

.2 Lands to be preserved as open space should include wetlands; floodways; soils unsuitable for septic systems as identified by on-site analysis or by using the USDA Soil Conservation Survey; mature woodlands; significant wildlife habitat; prime agricultural farmland; historic, archeological and cultural features listed (or eligible to be listed) on national, state or local registers or inventories; significant views into and out from the site; and aquifers and their recharge areas.

.3 General Locational Standards: Subdivisions shall be designed around the total required open space. The design process should therefore commence with the delineation of all potential open space, after which potential house sites are located. Following that, access road alignments are identified, with lot lines being drawn in as the final step.

.4 Open space shall be placed in undivided preserves, which may adjoin housing areas that have been designed more compactly to create larger areas that may be enjoyed equally by all residents of the development.

.5 Undivided open space shall be directly accessible to the largest practicable number of lots within the development. To achieve this, the majority of house lots should abut undivided open space in order to provide direct views and access. Safe and convenient pedestrian access to the open space from all lots not adjoining the open space shall be provided (except in the case of farmland, or other resource areas vulnerable to trampling damage or human disturbance). Where the undivided open space is designated as separate, non-contiguous parcels, no parcel should have a length-to-width ratio in excess of 4:1, except such areas that are specifically designed as village greens, ballfields, upland buffers to wetlands, waterbodies or watercourses, or designed as trail links.

.6 Interconnected Open Space Network: As these policies are implemented, the protected open space in each new subdivision will eventually adjoin each other, ultimately forming an inter-connected network of open across the town and adjoining communities. To avoid the issue of the "taking of land without compensation," the only elements of this network that would necessarily be open to the public are those lands that have been required to be dedicated for public use.