Stormwater Best Management Practices ... Using Smart Growth Techniques as Stormwater Best Management

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  • About the Image on the Cover

    The cover illustration depicts development that might occur as a result of the recently updated West Hyattsville (Maryland) Transit Oriented Development Overlay Zone. This area is served by the Metrorail (subway) and is home to the West Hyattsville Green Line station. The elements of the plan include many common features of transit oriented development (TOD): a compact footprint, development intensity focused on the station area, a rich mix of uses and housing types, and a variety of transportation options. These features, as illustrated in this publication, also have benefits related to preventing and managing stormwater, in particular, when considered at the watershed, neighborhood, and site levels simultaneously. The compact design can accommodate a higher intensity of development on a smaller footprint. This format, oriented toward transit and pedestrian travel, also lessens the imperviousness related to automobile-only travel. By accommodating a higher intensity of development in this preferred area, demand that might go elsewhere in the undeveloped parts of the watershed is absorbed.

    The West Hyattsville TOD Plan goes further to address water and stormwater throughout the planning area. There is a heavy emphasis on open space, active parks, and integrated stormwater management. In developing the plan, use of natural drainage patterns and habitat restoration were coupled with development of parks, fields, and trails.

    Image courtesy of PB PlaceMaking and the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission - Prince George’s County Planning Department.

  • Acknowledgements

    The principal author, Lisa Nisenson from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Development, Community and Environment Division, acknowledges the contributions and insights of the following people: Barbara Yuhas, International City/County Managers Association; Ben Stupka, Michigan Environmental Council; Bill Spikowski, Spikowski Planning Associates; Cheryl Kollin, American Forests; Chet Arnold, the University of Connecticut, Non-Point Source Education for Municipal Officials; Don Chen, Smart Growth America; Dreux Watermolen, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Frank Sagona, Southeastern Watershed Forum; Dan Emerine, International City/County Managers Association; Diana Keena, City of Emeryville (California); G.B. Arrington, PB Placemaking; George Hawkins, New Jersey Future; Harry Dodson, Dodson Associates Limited; James Hencke, PB Placemaking; Jeff Tumlin, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting; John Jacob, Texas Sea Grant Program; Kathy Blaha, Trust for Public Land; Linda Domizio, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Michael Bateman, Stormwater360; Milt Rhodes, Dover-Kohl Partners; Rebecca Finn, City of Elm Grove (Wisconsin); Rob Stueteville, New Urban News; Steve Tracy, Local Government Commission; Tom Davenport, EPA Region 5; and Tom Low, Duany-Plater Zyberk.

    In addition, contributors and reviewers from the EPA team: Geoff Anderson, Chris Forinash, Kevin Nelson, Lee Sobel, Lynn Richards, Jamal Kadri, Jenny Molloy, Kol Peterson, Rod Frederick, Robert Goo, Nikos Singelis, Ryan Albert, and Sylvia Malm.

    ICF Consulting produced an initial draft of this document under EPA contract 2W0921NBLX for the Development, Community, and Environment Division; Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation. Eastern Research Group edited and designed the report.

    To request additional copies of this report, contact EPA’s National Service Center for Environmental Publications at (800) 490-9198 or e-mail at ncepimal@one.net and ask for publication number EPA 231-B-05-002. To access this report online, visit or .

  • Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

    SECTION 1: WHY STORMWATER? THE NEXUS BETWEEN LAND

    DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS AND WATER QUALITY AND QUANTITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

    Summary of How Stormwater Runoff Is Regulated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

    Connecting Stormwater Management and Smart Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

    Smart Growth Techniques as Best Management Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

    SECTION 2: SPECIFIC SMART GROWTH TECHNIQUES AS STORMWATER

    BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

    1. Regional Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

    2. Infill Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

    3. Redevelopment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

    4. Development Districts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

    5. Tree and Canopy Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61

    6. Parking Policies to Reduce Number of Spaces Needed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64

    7. “Fix It First” Infrastructure Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71

    8. Smart Growth Street Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75

    9. Stormwater Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

    SECTION 3: RESOURCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89

    SECTION 4: NEW JERSEY—A CASE STUDY IN WEAVING STORMWATER AND

    SMART GROWTH POLICIES TOGETHER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99

    Goals for Smart Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99

    Goals for Water and Stormwater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100

    Specific Policies that Meet Both Water

    and Smart Growth Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100

    ACRONYMS & GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105

  • Image: PB PlaceMaking, Stull and Lee

  • 7 Using Smart Growth Techniques as Stormwater Best Management Practices

    C ommunities around the country are adopting smart growth strategies to reach environmental, community,

    and economic goals. The environmental goals include water benefits that accrue when development strategies use compact development forms, a mix of uses, better use of existing infrastructure, and preservation of critical environmental areas. While the water quality and stormwater benefits of smart growth are widely acknowledged, there has been little explicit regulatory recognition of these benefits to date.

    Regulations under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater program offer a structure for considering the water quality benefits associ­ ated with smart growth techniques. Compliance with federal, state, and local stormwater programs revolves around the use of “best management practices” (BMPs) to manage stormwater. Given the water benefits of smart growth at the site,

    EXECUTIVE

    SUMMARY

    neighborhood, and watershed levels, many smart growth techniques and policies are emerging as BMPs.

    The goal of this document is to help commu­ nities that have adopted smart growth poli­ cies and plans recognize the water benefits of those smart growth techniques and suggest ways to integrate those policies into stormwater planning and compliance. Taking credit for the work a community is already doing can be a low-cost and practical approach to meeting water quality goals and regulatory commitments.

    This document is related to a series of primers on smart growth. In 1999 and 2001, the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released two primers that each listed 100 smart growth policies. In 2004, EPA released Protecting Water Resources with Smart Growth, which presented 75 policies directly related

  • 8 Executive Summary

    to water resources. This document also com­ plements the EPA’s National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Urban Areas (2005).

    Who Can Use This Report? Stormwater and Water Quality Professionals: This document is written to help water professionals understand urban planning documents to determine where stormwater improvements might already be included. This document can also be helpful to consultants who are helpin

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