Conservation Subdivisions


The Louisville Metro Planning Commission and Louisville Metro Council have recently adopted a new option for subdivision development.  The purpose of the Conservation Subdivisions Regulation is to achieve a balance between well-designed residential development, meaningful open space conservation, and natural resource protection in Louisville Metro.  The regulations serve as an alternative to conventional subdivisions as a form of residential development that fulfills multiple goals and objectives outlined in Cornerstone 2020. 

Conservation Subdivisions have been used by many communities in the Northeast and upper Midwest of the United States to conserve significant acreage of open space while accomodating subdivision growth pressures.  According to Randall Arendt, author of several books about conservation subdivisions, "Without controversial 'down-zoning', the same number of homes can be built in a less land-consumptive manner, allowing the balance of the property to be permanently protected and added to an interconnected network of community green spaces." 


While conservation subdivision regulations are optional in any single family zoning district in Louisville Metro, the environmental and economic advantages should incentivize the development community to use this tool.  The advantages to this form of design include:

  • Provides flexibility for planners and developers to design development layouts that can accommodate development as well as achieve environmental or land preservation goals
  • Preserve significant tracts of open space while still preserving development values
  • Protects significant natural resources, such as farmland, historic buildings, woodlands, and streams
  • Preserves the rural character
  • Encourages passive recreational uses, such as hiking and biking
  • Reduces demand for new open spaces and parks
  • Open space buffers between homes and adjacent agricultural uses
  • Reduces stormwater runoff
  • Reduces the development costs for the developer and home buyer
  • Fosters a sense of community through shared spaces
  • Reduces the amount of road paving through lot clustering


Conservation Subdivision Regulations, Chapter 7 Part 11.


Economic Benefits Fact Sheet
Conservation Subdivision Flier

Conventional subdivision design often provides little or no common interconnected open space or community facilities. 

The same parcel developed, however, half of the land is preserved as open space.  Conservation Subdivisions provide the opportunity to protect unique historic and environmental features of the property. 

Historic farm paths and meadows, such as this image from the Floyds Fork area of eastern Jefferson County, are ideal features to preserve as a part of a conservation subdivision design.