Low Impact Development

An Integrated Planning Approach to Stormwater Management.

In a previous newsletter, we discussed Low Impact Development (LID) as a planning approach and the importance of integrating Green BMP’s into the preliminary planning process. However, as new policies and regulations favor “green” approaches to development, many firms are still planning projects with outdated methods; rarely considering a sites natural systems. Green infrastructure techniques are still an afterthought – selected from a pre-defined menu of choices – often “retrofit” into a project only after planning is complete. This approach can result in a fragmented development with a less effective, and more costly, stormwater management system.

The intent of LID is to mimic a site’s pre-development hydrology by addressing stormwater as close to the source as possible. This is done by incorporating multiple, smaller facilities throughout a project development, instead of the traditional “pipe and pond” approach. Each facility is then inter-connected (as in nature), working together to reduce peak flows and increase infiltration rates; thereby creating a more comprehensive system. By utilizing this approach during initial planning, we are also able to integrate BMP’s into the development in a more creative & aesthetic way.

Whether for a small-scale site or a large-scale community, LID provides a multitude of benefits, including: up to 40% less cost than conventional systems; credit towards landscape and open space requirements; recreational opportunities & increased property values. Through LID, all project elements, such as streets, alleys, lots, easements, parks and open space, all work in concert to make the stormwaters voyage through a site a long and economically viable one.

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