Documents and Resources
Economic Value Model User Manual and Supporting Data
The Open Space Conservation Plan includes use of an economic model, developed by the Conservation Commission, to quantify the many ways in which open spaces can save the town money and supports its economy.
It can be used to conduct a comparative analysis between open space proposals and open space versus development proposals. When combined with the qualitative benefits of open spaces, the information will allow Town Staff, Town Council members, Representatives to the Town Meeting and the general public to fully understand the economic, community, environmental and cultural impacts of a land use proposal from the viewpoint of the Conservation Commission.
The actual model is in electronic format, in multiple Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheets incorporated into a single workbook. Operating details are available in the Open Space Economic Model User Manual and Supporting Data dated April 2020 per the link below.
The Conservation Commission successfully utilized the model in 2019 and 2020 during deliberations in responding to requests for assessment of various parcels relative to future utilization as open space, such as the redevelopment proposal of the Seely School, and future use of the Noank School.
In addition, the model was validated in 1Q2021 as part of UCONN’s Operations and Information Management (OPIM) Department Senior Projects program.
Open Space Conservation Plan
The Open Space Conservation Plan for the Town of Groton stems from a critical need to identify natural, cultural and available open space resources that should be conserved as protected open space, to identify methods to achieve balanced conservation objectives, and outline the stewardship of protected parcels. It is increasingly important to make land use decisions that protect sensitive resources and habitats, encourage citizen support and participation in these decisions, and provide guidance to land developers and development consultants to work with the Town to achieve common open space objectives.
The plan is a good faith effort of volunteers and professionals to collect information about and establish priorities for the protection of the land and resources of Groton.
While the Plan does advocate for protecting certain resources it does not do so in a vacuum, as it recognizes the value of individual property rights and the importance of reasonable and responsible growth and development in Groton. It is hoped that the plan will serve as an important tool for future planning.
The Open Space Conservation Plan sets forth a strategy for approaching significant decisions for land use relative to open space versus development and identification of a process to identify the best overall value for future open space acquisition. It also identifies the need for stewardship, which addresses best practices for long-term protection for town held open space.
As an alternative to the 100+ page full Open Space Plan, we are also providing an ‘abridged’ version of the plan to provide a quick overview of key points of the plan.
Open Space Conservation Plan - Recommendations & Implementation
The plan includes specific recommendations and actions that advance the town’s land conservation efforts, including development of Greenbelts for corridors and connection of open spaces, and protection of the most appropriate remaining land for public use and benefit.
Specifically, lands that are used for natural resource protection, conservation, public enjoyment, recreational purposes, or any activity associated with improving or maintaining such purposes.
This Objective section consolidates actions from the full plan. It will be utilized by the Conservation Commission to assign responsibility, develop action plans, and track accomplishments. Each item has been assigned a timeframe for completion. Short-term means the first five years after adoption of the plan, mid-term is between six to 10 years, and long-term is beyond 10 years.
Open Space Inventory (January 2021)
The Conservation Commission is responsible for providing an inventory of Open Space on a regular basis. This document is the result of that effort. It lists ALL the open space regardless of ownership (State, Town, City, Private). This analysis also did deed research to ensure open space is protected. We have identified parcels that do require protection and the Plan Objectives will track the Commissions effort to provide that protection.
Inventory of Open Space in the Town is:
Total State-owned Open Space in Groton: 1,541 acres (7.6%)
Total Municipal Open Space in Groton: 2,469 acres (12.1%)
Total Private Open Space in Groton: 466 acres (2.3%)
Total Open Space in Groton: 4,477 (21.9%)
Note: Total land covered by Town of Groton (includes all 10,463 owned parcels and roadways) is: 20,377 acres or 31.83 sq miles. Note: the total land and water acreage (i.e. including the Thames and Mystic Rivers, and Long Island and Fisher’s Island Sounds areas) of the Town of Groton is: 28,992 acres or 45.3 sq miles.
Open Space Stewardship Plans
The primary purpose for open space stewardship stems from a critical need to identify how open space resources should be maintained to ensure future viability.
For those open space areas without a designated maintenance department assigned, the Conservation Commission by default has responsibility for monitoring that a long-term stewardship plan is in place and being executed for protection of the property in the best interest of the Town of Groton.
This Stewardship presents many unique challenges, including:
- Boundary monitoring for encroachment
- Control of invasive species
- Establishment of access, signage and trails
- Obtaining and utilization of volunteer support to execute the associated management plan
- Execution and coordination of open space education programs
The Conservation Commission has addressed best practices for protection and stewardship for Town held opens space. Those that are finalized and adopted by the Commission are identified and available below, while others will follow in the future.
- Birch Plain Creek - May 2021
- Drozdyk Drive Open Space - May 2021
- Fleet Bank Open Space - May 2021
- Gary Court - May 2021
- Mystic Meadows - May 2021
- Welles Road Composting - May 2021
- Industrial Drive - June 2021
- Fort Hill Open Space - June 2021
- Conrad Open Space - June 2021
- Carrigan Open Space - June 2021
- Sept 13, 2021 Stewardship Plan status
- Mystic River Coastal – Oct 2021