Green Space

What is Green Space?
The EPA defines green space as "land that is partly or completely covered with grass, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation".

Why is Green Space Important?

Land use decisions and infrastructure investments have the power to greatly affect the quality and sustainability of our natural environment. The consequences of haphazard or undirected development can linger for generations and their effects can be profound. Morgantown sits in a region known for its natural beauty, and its residents are eager to protect those attributes for generations to come.

An aerial picture of downtown Morgantown.
Morgantown has many areas unsuitable for development, whether because of the steep slope of the land or the surrounding density and road network. These areas serve an important function of providing passive open space, serve as habitat for wildlife, and provide a buffer between development and urban waterways, which contributes to healthy waterways. While sites with steep slopes are subject to additional development standards within Morgantown, outright protection of steep slopes is not codified in Morgantown or in the county, leaving these sensitive areas vulnerable. Green space suitable for preservation near residential areas is not protected in its natural state by land use or environmental laws.

The 2013 Morgantown Comprehensive Plan lists protecting environmentally significant areas and natural resources as one of the primary objectives to protecting the environment. This was added to the plan because residents, for both environmental and recreational interests, voiced an interest in retaining or increasing the amount of green space in the city and protecting natural areas in the county.

Land Preservation Program

The Land Preservation Program was established to acquire, preserve, and protect natural areas throughout the City and close to the City boundaries. The establishing ordinance also set up a Land Reuse and Preservation Agency to oversee the program. The agency is made up of residents with an expertise in land preservation and economic development. The LRPA helps guide council with stewardship and land management. Once established, the LRPA could seek purchases of additional properties adjacent to residential areas. Those acquisitions could be completed through donations, grants through state and federal government and funds from private foundations.

WVU College of Law Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic - Land Reuse Agency Presentation to City Council (PDF).