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Conservation Easements
Early in the history of Rochester Hills, residents and their representatives on the City Council recognized the need to protect and conserve our natural features such as trees, wetlands, and natural watershed areas. As a result, ordinances were enacted to protect these resources that are now part of the review process of new development. In recent years, these resources have been delineated on site plans and called "Conservation Easements".

Conservation Easements are intended to protect important watershed and wetland areas and other areas that have been determined by the Planning Commission to be environmentally sensitive. A Conservation Easement is an area of undeveloped land that retains or is being returned to its natural character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation. 

Conservation Easements:
  1. Generally appear to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of mans work substantially unnoticeable; or
  2. Contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

Nature paths, feeder stations, and similar non-disruptive uses are acceptable within the designated conservation easements. Residents who own property adjacent to a conservation easement are asked to respect and help protect this resource by not extending their property into the easement. Residents are asked to refrain from installing sod or planting grass seed, installing sheds or play structures, or using the property for any purposes which might compromise its natural features, function, and beauty.

Conservation areas should receive only minimal maintenance and be left in or returned to a natural condition. It is permissible to remove man-made debris, maintain pathways, lands, rivers, streams, watercourses, or existing easements as required by law deemed necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare.

Some conservation areas have boundary limits delineated by signage, but not always. If your property is adjacent to an open area and you are not sure if it is a Conservation Easement,
  1. Check your mortgage survey or closing documents for any information related to property easements, or
  2. Contact the Engineering Department at 248.656.4640 for assistance in determining the existence and location of a Conservation Easement near your property.
If you have concerns that a property has been extended into a conservation easement, you may contact the Building Department's Ordinance Compliance division at 248.656.4615.

Map showing a residential property extending into the Conservation Easement.

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