Better Site Design program shows importance of site planning

The Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) will present "Better Site Design: Changing Development Rules in Our Community" on October 15 at Sharon Centre at Sharon Woods.

Better Site Design was developed in 1997 by a planning roundtable to address the risks that developers face when trying to design sustainable residential and commercial projects in the face of outdated zoning rules and regulations.

Two years of discussion led to 22 specific planning principles in the three target areas of residential streets and parking lots, lot development, and conservation of natural areas.

"Many people don't realize that in the built environment, habitat for cars makes up a large part of the impervious cover put on the ground," says Julie Tasillo, watershed analyst for CWP and one of the program presenters.  "Often, codes require wide roads and huge parking lots for the 100-year shopping event during the week of the holiday season.  The result not only creates a lot of impervious cover and more polluted stormwater that then needs to be treated but also creates an environment that is not conducive to walking, biking, or a sense of community."

An interactive exercise will utilize the site of a suburban development in Stafford County, Virginia to demonstrate Better Site Design in action.

Tasillo says that planners, developers, and government officials are encouraged to attend to learn about why a building’s site plan is just as important as its envelope.

"LEED certified building is growing in popularity with many municipalities requiring it for new municipal buildings," she says.  "While this is a good standard, LEED focuses more on 'greening' the inside of the building and using 'green' materials and doesn't put as much emphasis on how stormwater is being treated from the site and using innovative stormwater treatment practices."

For more information, or to register, click here.

Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Julie Tasillo, watershed analyst, CWP
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