In November of 2002, Clarence residents overwhelmingly approved a $12.5 million bond authorization to fund the protection of open space, riparian corridors, scenic vistas, and farmland in the Town of Clarence in northern Erie County.
The program is known as the ‘Greenprint.’ In 2003, the Clarence Town Board approved a resolution appointing the Western New York Land Conservancy as the agent in planning and implementing the Greenprint.
Using the Greenprint Funds
Under the supervision of Clarence’s Director of Community Development, Jim Callahan, a plan for the Clarence Greenprint was developed with assistance from the University at Buffalo’s Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth, Buffalo State College’s Geography and Planning Department, the Town of Clarence Recreation Advisory Committee and Conservation Advisory Council, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Town of Newstead resident, Ken Koehler, an Erie County Environmental Management Council member and one of the founding directors of the Land Conservancy was instrumental in coordinating planning efforts.
Through the Land Conservancy, the Town of Clarence contacts owners of land that meets the Greenprint protection objectives. Protection work is then prioritized based on parcel size and Greenprint conservation objectives.
Impact and Awards
Through 2014, the Greenprint has helped protect more than 1,300 acres of meadows, forests, wildlife habitat, scenic views, and working farms.
In 2013, after 10 years experience with the Greenprint, a study of the Greenprint revealed an average increase of 15% in the sale price of properties adjacent to preserved open space. Countywide data showed the average appreciation rate of properties in Clarence following adoption of this program to have been five times that of comparable towns in the region. Moreover, Clarence’s tax rate was 30% lower than in comparable communities in the area.
In 2014, the program won two awards, one from both the WNY section and the NY Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association.