Net Residential Density
The manner in which a community defines Net Residential Density can, over time, provide significant ecological protections by limiting the potential density of future development in sensitive areas. Net Residential Density determines the number of units that could be placed on any given parcel during the subdivision process by subtracting the area of sensitive features from the overall acreage of the parcel. The remaining acreage is then divided by the minimum lot size in the parcel's land use zone. This calculation ultimately determines the potential number of lots that can be created. By including elements such as wetlands and certain habitat types as parcel features that are subtracted from net residential density calculations and thus remain undeveloped, a town can add an additional layer of resource protections.