In collaboration with Horsley Witten Group and the American Farmland Trust, Dodson & Flinker drafted a report to provide communities with guidance for maintaining healthy working farms and forests. The vast majority of land in rural Rhode Island is zoned for residential use – even if the current use is in fact agriculture or forestry. Farmers and foresters can generate revenue from selling their crops, but profits can be modest in the best of years, and for many landowners, splitting off a few house lots from time to time becomes the only way to keep up with expenses. The economic pressures on landowners, combined with the restrictions of traditional zoning, contribute to a haphazard, sprawling pattern of development that is often at odds with a town’s goals to protect rural character and quality of life while encouraging appropriate economic development. The report identifies appropriate business uses of farm and forest lands, and explores how towns might encourage such activities through changes in planning policies, zoning and other regulations.

Click HERE for a link to a copy of the final report.