Sustainable Design Protects Resources, Water Quality
Environmentally sensitive design not only protects resources such as forests, habitat, wetlands and water quality. A conservation-based design can also be very attractive and marketable at a time when more conventional developments are not selling.
A paper and poster prepared for the January 28 Center for the Inland Bays conference, "Frontiers in Nutrient Management," examined a parcel in the high-reduction area of the Inland Bays watershed. Ninety percent of the parcel contains features that would classify it as a State Resource Area under existing SRA maps. A conventional, by-right design did not protect core natural features such as a stream corridor, wetlands, and an excellent recharge area. Nor did the design meet pollution-reduction requirements for the Inland Bays Watershed.
A conservation design protected all key features, met the Inland Bays pollution reduction requirements, and yielded the same number of homes as the conventional design. It also features 62 percent open space, abundant scenery, and a network of trails. Such a development could be accomplished under Sussex County's existing ordinances. The same parcel is featured as one of three county case studies in "Guidelines for Counties and Municipalities to Protect Ecological Features of State Resource Areas" (March 2008).