Shared Stormwater Systems as Economic Incentives - April 29,2014 American Planning Association 2014 National Meeting Lisa Nisenson (GreaterPlaces) Danielle Gallet (Center for Neighborhood Technology)
The purpose of the presentation was to provide the latest work on joint stormwater and economic development programs. Danielle first presented work on valuing green infrastructure with a case study from Lancaster PA, US.
In 2010, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, together with American Rivers, produced The Value of Green Infrastructure.
While stormwater is a main benefit, green infrastructure provides a range of services. CNT sought to catalogue and quantify these services.
This table is from The Value of Green Infrastructure and shows various practices & potential benefits
EPA & CNT chose Lancaster Pennsylvania as a case study to quantify the benefits of green infrastructure. Lancaster is a mid-sized city with a green infrastructure plan.
The benefits include more than $120 million in avoided "gray"infrastructure costs as well as $5 million/year in other benefits. Two takeaways: (1) green infrastructure does not replace gray infrastructure, but can be designed to increase performance of the overall system, lower costs related to gray infrastructure and provide additional benefits, & 2) factoring green infrastructure into capital budgets (rather than as individual stand alone projects) reduces costs.
Stormwater & Economic Development
The latest approaches
But first ... What do land developers say about stormwater management? 1) Best Management Practices (BMPs) rarely the driving factor in decisions 2) Redevelopment more difficult than greenfields; BMP costs more variable & site specific 3) BMPs that add other value (e.g., landscaping) preferred 4) Options to mix on-site & odd-site BMPs a good idea 5) Strict regulations OK as long as regulations are clear Takeaways: stay away from limited menus and develop menus of on-site + off-site options Source: Managing Stormwater in Redevelopment and Greenfield Development Projects Using Green Infrastructure
Second - what if our redevelopment portfolio is weak? 1) concentrate attention on activity nodes with highest potential 2) align land use regulations with market & physical conditions for both near term and long term planning goals 3) coordinate public & private investment in your focal node (including stormwater) Good resource: Strategic Economics presentation Getting It Built: Overcoming the Implementation Barriers to Smart Growth
APPROACHES TO SHARED STORMWATER SYSTEMS Approach 1: Trading Washington D.C. has a new program, the Stormwater Retention Credit program, coming fall 2014. Projects must capture the 50% retention standard for volume, but can enter a trading market for the rest.
Approach 2: Innovative Funds Baltimore Maryland has a $3 million fund to help churches and non-profits meet stormwater fees.
Approach 3: Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Seattle Washington pairs a TDR and Tax Increment Financing program in targeted sewersheds to fund BMPs. increased revenue from a redevelopment district purchases development rights in rural areas and sends the development rights back to support the planned buildout.
Approach 4: Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) BIDs have traditionally carried out Streetscape & landscaping improvements, so green infrastructure is not a big leap. The Victoria (London) BID carried out a green infrastructure audit, while the Hudson Square BID in NYC retrofitted standard tree grates for improved performance.
Approach 5: Public Art St. Paul Minnesota uses its public arts ordinance to integrate art into the front end of city investments including stormwater through FLUXion.
Approach 6: Vacant Properties The city of Philadelphia is working with agencies and community groups to identify which of 40,000 vacant lots suitable for conversion to green infrastructure.
Good resource: Greening Vacant Lots: planning and implementing strategies
AREA PLANS to SUPPORT SHARED STORMWATER SYSTEMS
Planning Area - An Ecodistrict is a planning area that integrates the various aspects of sustainability & resource efficiency through planning & buildout. In Washington DC, the SW Ecodistrict is a good example of this approach.
Corridor Plan - In Minneapolis/ St. Paul Minnesota, the Green line light rail will adopt a new framework for SSGI (shared, stacked, green infrastructure).
Street Plan for Shared Stormwater Philadelphia Pennsylvania has a green streets program & manual. The graphics illustrate in three dimensions how water is collected & stored in an urban environment,
Trail Plan for Shared Stormwater Indianapolis, Indiana has opened the Cultural Trail that combines mobility, stormwater management & economic development,
Graphic Design - As developers noted, strict rules are not a problem if they are clear. Los Angeles, California used a game board to explain the thresholds and requirements.
Other Good Examples American Landscape Architects Association Envision Tomorrow scenario planning Renton Washington: Sunset Community Investment Strategy, 2009 Portable rain gardens from Splash Boxx being used at Seattle's ports MIT Co-Lab: Green Infrastructure & Economic Development: Strategies to Foster Opportunity for Marginalized Communities Top session take aways: Our profession needs to bring costs down, particularly for initial installation. Tax and ratepayers, as well as developers, are not used to comparing costs on anything other than the initial line item. Matching stormwater management practices for individual lots and shared systems to the local condition (soil type, plant selection) is key to success. This matching can even be needed within a city. Green infrastructure is typically used alongside gray: not likely to fully replace but instead will bring down the costs of a gray-only program. This also seems to be true with conventional retention ponds in suburban areas (existing and future).
Trends to watch Cities under consent decrees are doing some of the most innovative work: Portland OR, Washington DC, Philadelphia PA, Louisville KY Watch the innovation in retrofit products - the University of Maryland has a start-up approach to invention dedicated to water and stormwater products. Maturing programs will find new ways to implement fair-share cost systems for developers and building managers who join in existing shared systems & trading programs.
This booklet represents material gathered for a presentation for the 2014 American Planning Assn's annual meeting. The session took place A...