Monitoring Local Development, Advocating for Enforcement
Updated: May 5
The Riverdale Nature Preservancy monitors local development for compliance with zoning and SNAD (Special Natural Area District) regulations. Ongoing, we advocate for changes to the regulations that will increase enforcement and motivate property owners to follow the rules. RNP board Co-chair Sherida Paulsen was interviewed by The Riverdale Press on compliance in the SNAD:
Many times that means nothing more than adding trees or doing some other environmentally friendly addition to the property. And for Sherida Paulsen, a local architect and civic advocate, that just opens the door for developers to walk all over SNAD rules in the future.
"During those long discussions (last year) about changing the SNAD regulations, there was never a satisfactory response to people who violate SNAD rules,” Paulsen said. “They generally get to keep what they built, and there’s very little the community or the city seems to be able to do right now.”
While penalties may not necessarily mean tearing down brand-new multi-million-dollar houses, Paulsen wants the city to have more respect for the greenway many in the community fought hard for just a few decades ago. In her view, every time a developer finds a new way to bypass a SNAD regulation, it becomes a massive blackhole that could threaten the entire Special Natural Area District.
“Given the sensitivity of the environment and the need to protect our water resources, land and everything else, finding a better way to enforce the zoning would be very much appreciated.”