An Environmental Protection Overlay District (EPOD) is an overlay zone located in sensitive environmental places in which special building regulations and restrictions operate in order to help to maintain natural structures. Building in an overlay zone, such as in the EPOD-zone, has extra requirements in addition to the requirements of the underlying base zone. For example, a construction planned in a residence district with an environmental protection overlay needs to obey the building regulations and requirements of both zones.
The main aim of the EPOD is to maintain natural spaces, provide a safe environment for residents and control the safety of houses located on hazardous areas, keep the surface water clean, preserve habitats of wild animals, maintain slope and soil stability, as well as maintaining open spaces between buildings.
In order to address each environmental issue separately, an EPOD is defined and named according to its individual situation and use, such as a Wetland Protection Overlay District, Steep Slopes Protection Overlay District, Waste Disposal Site Protection Overlay District, and Watercourse Protection Overlay District.
Before the start of constructions located in an environmental protection overlay, most of the times an EPOD development permit is required. Smaller activities are normally allowed, such as lawn care and gardening activities, tree and shrub care maintenance, removal of dead or deteriorating plants or trees, and rebuilding of structures destroyed by a natural disaster.
Source: John R. Nolon, Open Ground: Effective Local Strategies for Protecting Natural Resources. The Environmental Law Institute, Washington: 2003.