NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
The natural environment and resources define Lewisville’s community character. Scenic vistas, stands of tall trees, creeks, small lakes and quaint country lanes illustrate this character.
This document speaks to the continued protection of these elements; however, the natural environment is due to change as a result of existing state development regulations and accepted practices. Examples of negative impacts of development include degradation of local air quality due to increasing traffic volumes, pollution of water bodies due to runoff from building sites, and the loss of woodlands and open space to make room for development.
There are a few natural barriers to development in Lewisville. State regulations restrict development of wetlands and floodplains, however, these areas are usually unsuitable for development anyway. State watershed regulations do restrict the intensity of development where they apply. Other areas of importance to Lewisville include existing woodlands and open space, located just outside the town’s jurisdiction, which are not protected by state or county regulations. Without protection, these areas might be lost due to development.
Lewisville is situated at the headwaters of a number of small streams, many of which drain into larger waterways, such as the Yadkin River. The western portion of the town is classified as a WS-IV watershed by the North Carolina Division of Environmental Management. That classification limits the amount of development that can occur on a lot in order to protect water quality. The goal is to protect the Yadkin River so that it can be used for drinking water without endangering public health. (See Map 5 Environmental Constraints.) In addition, many of the town’s neighborhoods are interspersed with small lakes. Improper construction practices and existing development causes sedimentation and erosion of stream and lake banks, which degrade water quality and the visual appearance of the lakes. This plan seeks to preserve water quality by directing development away from streams and lakes.
The plan also recommends that woodlands be preserved, especially around streams, to minimize erosion and protect water quality. Stands of trees also help define the Lewisville landscape, providing a patchwork of woodlands between open fields and subdivisions. Moreover, these forests are home to local wildlife and help reduce air pollution by absorbing carbon monoxide and producing oxygen.
The North Carolina Wildlife Commission provides a Green Growth Toolkit that can help the town understand where important wildlife areas are located, create land use plans and policies that balance future development with natural resource protection and help design development projects that protect wildlife habitat alongside built areas.
This plan promotes the use of native tree species. Native plant materials are generally longer lived, better acclimated and more consistent with the visual character of the established community.
Open pastures are essential to the town’s character, however, they are the most difficult natural feature to protect because they are well suited for development. This plan seeks to preserve pasture lands and the scenic vistas they afford through policies that create an open space network. An example of this is the use of Planned Residential Developments (PRD’s) which minimizes the impact of new residential development by clustering it away from known view sheds or other environmentally sensitive areas. Not all development can or should be prevented, but development can and should be designed in accord with the natural environment.
Currently, there is a need for alternative transportation such as bike lanes, greenways, and sidewalks. Most trips within Lewisville are made by car. This plan calls for bike lanes, a network of greenways, and additional sidewalks. As more trips are made on foot or by bike, the corresponding reduction in vehicular travel will help to reduce air quality problems by lowering automobile carbon monoxide emissions. (See Chapter 7 Health, Safety and Wellness.) Drainage and stormwater has become an issue in the town. While Lewisville does not currently have a major problem with stormwater, it has become an issue because of increased development and mandated federal stormwater management requirements. Lewisville manages its stormwater management program through the enforcement of a federal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) “Phase II” stormwater permit.
The town is actively engaged in the development of new stormwater management facilities as well as the maintenance of existing stormwater facilities town wide to remove harmful sediments and other pollutants. These measures will help to  mitigate the rate of runoff into existing drainage ways. These facilities help to reduce the potential and risk of flooding downstream properties within the town. Solutions which use natural drainage patterns instead of hardened, engineered systems will help protect the environment.
Vision
Lewisville in the year 2035 will protect and preserve the natural environment and will be good stewards of the public lands and private property. To do this, planners and citizens will value sustainability, therefore provide open space, wildlife habitats and woodlands. Air quality and water resources such as streams, lakes and watershed are protected by using sound environmental principals in planning and development. The town will focus on these things to protect native species, to preserve  natural resources for the enjoyment of our citizens, and to maintain a rural feeling for the community.
Implementation Program
 
Recommended Action
Action Steps
Responsible Agency
Time Frame
Goal - Provide and encourage environmental sustainability.
NE1 - (See Environmental Sustainability in the Appendix.)
* Study environmental sustainability in Lewisville.
TC
PB
Immediate
Ongoing
Goal - Encourage the town to find ways to preserve open spaces including natural habitats, scenic vistas, and environmentally sensitive areas.
NE2 - Cluster residential uses, encourage PRDs.
*  Revise or improve the Planned Residential Development (PRD) ordinance.
* Educate officials and citizens on advantages.
TC
PB
Staff
Ongoing
NE3- Preserve open spaces adjoining existing institutions / parks for future expansion.
* Identify desired properties.
* Determine tools for protection including regulation, donation, purchase.
PB
PRCB
Staff
Ongoing
NE4 - Maximize open space dedication for residential development, include in subdivision regulations. (For additional recommendations see Chapter 5 Land Use.)
* Amend Unified Development Ordinances (UDO).
TC
PB
Staff
Ongoing
NE5 - Use Piedmont Land Conservancy to prioritize and protect significant natural and scenic areas, wildlife habitat, and farm land.
* Obtain copy of study.
* Prioritize sensitive areas.
* Determine means of preservation.
* Continue to work with partners such as Forsyth County, Piedmont Land Conservancy, State of North Carolina, and property owners to identify and prioritize and go about protecting them through this program.
* Encourage participation in the program by educating property owners and citizens through the town newsletter/public access channel/etc.
Property Owners
Piedmont Land Conservancy
State of NC
Forsyth County
TC
Staff
Ongoing
(See Legacy Plan Forsyth County Long Range Plan)
NE6 - Preserve open space by acquiring land or easement dedication to the town or a qualified land trust.
* Identify key sites.
* Work with property owners.
* Solicit donations or obtain funding.
TC
PB
Staff
Long Term
Ongoing
NE7 - Educate community and provide for them information explaining
   1) tax credits for conservation easement,   
   2) county tax deferral programs, and
   3) appropriate landscaping species. (See UDO Landscaping Standards and LBC’s “A Gardener’s Guide to Landscaping & Plants”.)
* Gather information.
* Develop brochure.
* Distribute brochure.
TC
PB
LBC
Staff
Ongoing
Goal  -  Form a network of interconnected open spaces.
NE8 - Promote open space connections through PRD and site plan review.
* Encourage use of PRDs.
* Require open space provisions on site plans.
* Increase minimum open space requirements for PRDs.
TC
PB
Staff
Ongoing
NE9 - Identify potential greenway trails, sidewalks and bikepaths and implement them (See Chapter 4 Facilities and Services).
* Continue to fund the Capital Reserve.
See Map 11 Transportation Facilities with Proposed Improvements for additional information.
TC
PB
Staff
WSDOT
Immediate
Long Term
Ongoing
NE10 - Coordinate with the county greenway system.
See Chapter 4 Facilities and Services.
TC
PB
Staff
WSDOT
Immediate
Long Term
Ongoing
NE11 - Require dedication of greenway and/or conservation easements through the zoning and subdivision processes.
See Chapter 4 Facilities and Services.
TC
PB
Staff
 
Immediate
Long Term
Ongoing
NE12 - Educate the community about the benefits of a greenway program and open space connections. (See Health, Safety and Wellness Chapter 7 for additional information.)
* Presentations to public and officials.
Staff
PB
PRCD
Immediate
Short Term
Long Term
Ongoing
Goal - Protect and promote preservation of existing farms, woodlands and undeveloped rural areas.
NE13 - Encourage agri-tourism consistent with Lewisville’s vision and values. (See Legacy for more information.)
* Research possible incentives (include existing incentives).
* Provide farmers with information.
* Promote Forsyth County Farmland Preservation Program.
* Provide information for farmers to retain agricultural land, such as a farmland preservation program.
CCPB
Staff
Forsyth County Tax Assessor
Agriculture Extension
TC
Ongoing
 
 
NE14 - Identify and protect mature and specimen trees during development. (See UDO Landscaping Standards.)
* Include in regulations site clearance standards.
TC
PB
Staff
Ongoing
NE15 - Encourage use of native plants, non-invasive species, and xeriscaping for landscaping in private and public areas.
* Research native species.
* Educate community through newsletters/public access channel/etc.
* See LBC’s “A Gardener’s Guide to Landscaping & Plants”.
* See UDO Landscaping Standards.
Staff
PB
LBC
Ongoing
 
NE16 - Protect with the thought to preserve the natural topography of land.
* Continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to developmental practices.
TC
PB
Staff
 
Immediate
Ongoing
NE17 - Draft a “tree protection ordinance.”
* Develop ordinance.
* Continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to developmental practices.
TC
PB
Staff
 
Immediate
NE18 - Apply for status as a “bird sanctuary” or “Tree City USA”.
* Contact responsible agency.
* Complete paper work.
TC
Staff
Immediate
Goal - Conserve water and protect its quality in streams, lakes, aquifers and water supply watersheds.
NE19 - Continue to conserve water and protect water quality.
* Utilize UDO and Town Code to achieve goals.
 
TC
Ongoing
NE20 - Allow only low density/ intensity development along the Yadkin.
* Support Yadkin River District in UDO.
CCPB
TC
PB
Ongoing
NE21  - Limit construction and/or removal of trees from steep slopes, floodplains, and stream buffers.
* Continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction within environmental sensitive areas.
TC
PB
Short Term
Ongoing
NE22 - Use conservation easements to retain natural vegetation along waterways.
* Educate public on benefits of preserving surface waters (streams/creeks/lakes and ponds) (See NE7).
TC
PB
Short
NE23  - Comply with all state and county erosion control regulations.
* Enforce erosion control regulations.
Inspections
Ongoing
NE24 - Be mindful of protecting our wetlands given their environmental importance.
* Enforce current regulations which limit wetlands development.
* Educate citizens on value of wetlands.
USAC of E
DENR
PB
Inspections
Staff
Ongoing
NE25 - Farmers should use Best Management Practices to limit erosion and point source pollution.
* Work with Agriculture Extension.
Agriculture Extension
Ongoing
NE26 - Encourage residents to contact the Lewisville Stormwater Department as well as the  Inspections Department concerning possible infractions of regulations.
* Educate citizens on environmental regulations and regulatory responsibilities through newsletters/public access channel/etc.
* Ensure adequate inspections process.
Staff
Inspections
Ongoing
NE27 - Provide information which identifies native trees, bushes and shrubs, and contains landscaping requirements for Lewisville. See LBC’s “A Gardener’s Guide to Landscaping & Plants” and UDO Landscaping Standards.
* Assemble information on native trees and plantings, and landscaping requirements.
* Educate community through newsletters/public access channel/etc.
 
Staff
LBC
State Arborist
Ongoing
 
Goal - Promote good air quality.
NE28 - Provide facilities to encourage walking, biking and use of other non-motorized vehicles.
See Chapter 6 Transportation.
 
 
NE29 - Provide for better traffic flow through Lewisville.
See Chapter 6 Transportation.
 
 
NE30 - Encourage commercial development that is pedestrian friendly.
See Chapter 5 Land Use.
 
 
NE31 - Retain existing vegetation to the extent possible.
See NE14-NE18.
 
 
 
NE32 - Encourage the adoption of regulations to improve air quality.
* See Chapter 4 Facilities and Services.
* See Chapter 7 Health, Safety and Wellness.
TC
Staff
Short Term
Ongoing
NE33 - Encourage environmental friendly lawn care and lawn care equipment maintenance practices.
* Educate and encourage the community to follow EPA Air Quality Guidelines.
Staff
Immediate
Ongoing
NE34 - Encourage and promote regional transportation to improve air quality
Educate community of availability.
* See Chapter 6 Transportation.
* See Chapter 7 Health, Safety and Wellness.
PART
WSTA
Staff
Immediate
Ongoing
Goal - Preserve and enhance natural drainage flows and functions for stormwater control.
NE35 - Require storm water control plans.
* Comply with federal and state regulations.
Private consultants
Staff
Inspections
Ongoing
NE36 - Conduct a comprehensive stormwater study for all of Lewisville.
 
* Follow UDO standards and continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction/ development within environmentally sensitive areas.
Private consultants
Staff
Inspections
Short Term
Ongoing
NE37 - Support adoption of stormwater runoff regulations.
* Follow UDO standards and continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction/ development within environmentally sensitive areas.
Private consultants
Staff
Inspections
Short Term
Ongoing
NE38 - Promote the use of natural drainage patterns and bio- engineered stream stabilization methods instead of hardened engineered solutions.
* Follow UDO standards and continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction/ development within environmentally sensitive areas.
Private consultants
Staff
Inspections
Short Term
Ongoing
 
 
 
 
 
NE39 - Provide education on developing land with natural drainage patterns.
* Follow UDO standards and continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction/ development within environmentally sensitive areas.
Private consultants
Staff
Inspections
Short Term
Ongoing
NE40 - Limit impervious surface coverage.
* Follow UDO standards and continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction/ development within environmentally sensitive areas.
Private consultants
Staff
Inspections
Short Term
Ongoing
NE41 - Encourage adoption of Low Impact Development (LID) for new subdivisions.
* Follow UDO standards and continue to amend the UDO to include evolving standards related to construction/ development within environmentally sensitive areas.
TC
Staff
PB
Private consultants
Ongoing
Time Frame:
Immediate = directly - without delay
Annually = once each year
Short Term = within 5 years
Long Term = within 5-10 years
Ongoing = continuous