Template document for a township Low Impact Development district ordinance

Steven Welzer
25 min readMay 24, 2023

I’ve taken the East Pikeland Township, PA “Kimberton Low Impact Development Overlay” and modified it to be more or less generic. So the verbiage of the document below could be used just about anywhere as the basis for a township ordinance. Passage of ordinances such as this could facilitate the development of ecovillage communities. Ideally an ecovillage advocate could get a local attorney and a member of the township council to review and then help promote the passage of such an ordinance.


_____________ Low Impact Development Ordinance
[insert the name of your municipality above]


A street where a landscaped median strip separates opposing traffic lanes. The landscaped median shall have a minimum width of eight (8) feet.

Clubhouse Building
A building within a Low Impact Development that is owned, operated, and maintained by a Homeowners Association. Features may include, but are not limited to, a dining room (multi-purpose space), kitchen, mail room, guest rooms, media rooms, lounge, office and conference spaces, children’s playroom, recreational studios, laundry room, storage area, workout room and other similar spaces. Within a cohousing community it is often referred to as the ‘Common House.’

Common Open Space
See the definition of Common Open Space set forth in the Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.

Low Impact Development Housing Community
A residential development which is based on sustainable land design and development principles while incorporating low impact development provisions. It shall consist of a multi-family dwelling development with a potential combination of single family dwelling units, twins, duplexes, townhouses, four-plexes or stacked townhouses. These residential units may front on a Pedestrian Accessway (as defined herein), parking lot or private street in a design to encourage walkability. It may include a Clubhouse Building and have remote communal parking onsite. A Low Impact Development Housing Community shall be developed under all standards of the Overlay District, and shall meet SITES v2 Rating System Guidelines as defined in this Ordinance. Each dwelling unit and Clubhouse Building shall achieve a Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index score of fifty (50) or less. At least fifty (50) percent of the energy requirements for each building within the development shall be generated onsite from renewable (non-fossil fuel) methods.

Pedestrian Accessway
A path and right-of-way connecting the front yard of dwelling units intended as the primary means of access to dwellings within a Low Impact Development Housing Community and meant for pedestrian use, but accessible by emergency service vehicles. The minimum cartway width shall be eight (8) feet and minimum right-of-way width shall be ten (10) feet. The Pedestrian Accessway shall also provide pedestrian access the Clubhouse Building. A Pedestrian Accessway shall be considered a private right-of-way to be owned and maintained by the development Homeowners Association. A Pedestrian Accessway shall be structurally designed to accommodate emergency vehicle access loads and maneuverability as approved by the Township Engineer, but to not otherwise be used for vehicular travel.

Pervious Paving
Porous asphalt, concrete pavers or nonseparated pervious paver blocks, polymer based grass pavers, grids, geocells or similar techniques that allow for the infiltration of stormwater at a rate equivalent to pre-development good meadow conditions (as defined by the Township’s Act Stormwater Management Ordinance and associated regulations). The pavement layer must be designed for supporting vehicular or pedestrian passage, dependent on its intended usage. Pervious pavement systems shall be designed in accordance with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection stipulations. In the context of a Low Impact Development, the extent to which the use of pervious paving methods reduces impervious coverage limitations shall be dependent on the applicant demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer, that efficacy thereof. Ongoing maintenance of the pervious paving surfaces used to reduce the impervious coverage requirements shall be subject to a maintenance agreement in form and substance acceptable to the Township.

The Residential Energy Service Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) which rates a home’s energy use compared to the energy use of a reference home. A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater assesses the energy efficiency of a home assigning it a relative performance score (the HERS Index Score). The latest edition and information provided by RESNET HERS shall be utilized (or its equivalent, as determined by the Township Board of Supervisors, in the event that such program is discontinued), and reference to the appropriate standards for the same shall be incorporated into the Homeowners’ Declarations. Initial and ongoing compliance with such standards shall be set forth in a Maintenance Agreement for the individual units and/or through the Homeowners’ Declarations, as to be determined through the Land Development process.

SITES v2 Rating System
Guidelines for sustainable land design and development published by the U.S. Green Building Council (or its equivalent, as determined by the Township Board of Supervisors, in the event that such program is discontinued). A land development plan shall be deemed to comply with SITES v2 Rating System guidelines if it satisfies the Prerequisites of the SITES v2 Rating System and achieves a score of 85 or higher on the SITES v2 Rating System Scorecard.

SALDO = Subdivision And Land Development Ordinance

Stacked Townhouse
A building containing no more than six dwelling units, arranged atop another, each with independent outside access, not more than two walls in common with adjoining units and open space to the front and rear (internal units) or front, rear and one side (end units). Each unit can be referred to as a single family attached unit, particularly when separately owned.

* * * *

The Low Impact Overlay District is established to encourage coordinated land development for projects designed for low impact development. Development is encouraged that is low impact to the community and environment and is sustainable in nature.

The Overlay District is intended to serve the following purposes:
* Provide ecologically-benign housing options in the community.
* Provide housing options that generate less traffic than conventional housing.
* To encourage land development to occur on a low impact basis.
* To promote a mix of smaller lower impact residential units in a neighborhood that encourages social interaction amongst the residents and within the community.
* To minimize the use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of renewable energy sources.
* To minimize the use of automobiles and encourage walkable connections to local businesses.
* To limit the extent of impervious surfaces including streets, hard-surfaced parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks and to replace them with internal pervious surfaces including pedestrian pathways, walkways, and trails that encourage physical activity and social interaction.
* To encourage infill development and redevelopment at designated growth areas and thereby limit the expansion of suburban sprawl and encroachment on rural landscapes.
* To encourage the preservation and use of Open Space including expanding the scope of recreation activities.
* To promote development that has less ecological impact and comparable fiscal impact when compared to traditional development styles.
* To promote a lifestyle that is has less impact on the environment and promotes conservation.


The following regulations shall apply to all uses (unless otherwise indicated) in the Overlay District:

1. Minimum Open Space — Not less than the below listed percentages of the Gross Tract Area shall be designated as Open Space areas in accordance with the provisions of [Section 1714]. All land not located within the zoning district shall be designated as Open Space and shall not contain any building other than those related to Passive Recreation uses and approved by the Township.

2. Coverage Provisions and Care of Pervious Surfaces.
A. Total Building Coverage shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the Gross Tract Area of a development located within the zoning district.
B. Within a Low Impact Development at least fifty percent (50%) of paved or concrete surfaces shall be pervious paving.
C. The Homeowners Association governing documents of a Low Impact Development shall provide for routine maintenance of pervious surfaces to provide for the continuation of the pervious surface properties.

3. Maximum Height — Maximum building height shall be three (3) stories or thirty-five (35) feet, whichever is less. Flag poles shall be limited to thirty-five (35) feet.

4. Maximum Number of Units Per Building — The maximum number of dwelling units per building is six (6).

5. Maximum Building Length — The maximum dimension of any building in a single direction:
A. Townhouse buildings shall not exceed ninety (90) feet in length along any one side.
B. Any other multi-family building shall not exceed eighty (80) feet in length along any one side.

6. Perimeter Setbacks and Building Separation
A. All buildings, both principal and accessory, shall be set back from the tract boundary a minimum of: fifty (50) feet abutting properties containing existing single family detached residential uses; forty (40) feet abutting undeveloped land; and thirty (30) feet abutting non-residential uses or existing residential single family attached or multi-family residential uses.
B. Parking lots shall not be less than twenty-five (25) feet from a tract boundary.
C. Trails or walkways shall not be less than ten (10) feet from a tract boundary, except those portions of trails or walkways providing interconnection with adjoining pedestrian pathways.
D. Minimum distances between buildings shall be twenty (20) feet.

7. Minimum Building Width — Each dwelling unit shall have a minimum width of twenty (20) feet.

8. Minimum Front Yard Setback — Every Pedestrian Accessway, Private Street or Public Street shall have a right-of-way. Every structure, with the exception of Clubhouse Buildings, shall not be less than ten (10) feet from a Pedestrian Accessway and twenty (20) feet from a Public or Private Street.

9. Side and Rear Yards — Minimum side yards and rear yards shall not be required except as herein provided. [Section 1701], Projections Into Required Yards, shall not apply, but no awning, terrace, deck, or patio shall encroach more than ten (10) feet on the setbacks described above in [Section 2804.6.A] or, be located within ten (10) feet of any trail or walkway.

10. Clubhouse Building (the “Common House” of a cohousing community)
A. The maximum Gross Floor Area of the Clubhouse Building shall be five thousand (5,000) square feet, of which a maximum of three thousand five hundred (3,500) square feet may be on the ground floor.
B. The Clubhouse Building shall be located within the common area of the development and shall be setback at least seventy-five (75) feet from all tract boundaries.
C. The Clubhouse Building shall abut and shall not be less than fifteen (15) feet from the Pedestrian Accessway right-of-way, if a Pedestrian Accessway is provided. If a Pedestrian Accessway is not provided, the development shall include a series of sidewalks, trails or other means of pedestrian access to the Clubhouse Building.
D. The Clubhouse Building may have no more than three (3) guest rooms. Stays within the guest rooms shall be limited by provision in the Homeowners Association governing documents to not more than ten (10) days per calendar year.

11. Accessory Buildings or Structures
A. Except for rehabilitation of an existing building or for a Clubhouse Building, the maximum ground floor area of any accessory building or structure shall be two thousand (2,000) square feet and any such accessory structure shall be a maximum height of one (1) story except that a pole barn may contain a loft or mezzanine.
B. Accessory structures may not extend beyond the lot lines of individual units. If a development proposes units without individual lot lines then the development plan and Homeowners Association Documents must depict an area beyond which accessory structures cannot extend.


In addition to all the other design standards in this Ordinance, the below listed standards shall apply specifically within the Overlay District. Low Impact Development residents are united by shared ecological, social, economic, and cultural values. All development under this Article shall attain at least the minimum scores and percentages recited in this Ordinance as to the sustainable land development assessment method SITES v2 Rating System, the dwelling unit energy assessment system RESNET-HERS, and the renewable energy requirements.

Development shall incorporate the following standards within its design and function to facilitate social interaction, low-impact site design, energy conservation, and renewable energy.

1. Access and Interior Circulation. The following provisions shall supersede those in [Section 1706] where in conflict:
A. Each internal driveway or vehicular accessway that connects the development to a public street must have a sidewalk on one (1) side that connects to the internal pedestrian network. This provision shall not apply to emergency-only accessways.
B. Pedestrian crosswalk locations at street and driveway intersections will be determined during the land development plan review process, however they must meet applicable federal accessibility requirements.
C. [Section 1706.14] shall apply except that: the fire lanes shall have a minimum unobstructed right-of-way width of twenty-four (24) feet with a twenty (20) foot cartway; and:
(1) For segments of a fire lane coincident with a street, a boulevard can be substituted with cartway lane widths of fourteen (14) feet and an aggregate right-of-way of fifty-two (52) feet.
(2) For segments of a fire lane not coincident with a street or parking aisle, the cartway can be reduced to ten (10) feet.

2. Parking Standards For Low Impact Housing Development Housing Communities:

These provisions shall supersede [Section 1707] when in conflict.

A. Off-street residential parking shall be provided at a rate of no more than one and one half (1.5) spaces per dwelling unit. The Homeowners Association governing documents shall sufficiently restrict the number of vehicles parked on-site by the unit occupants so that the total vehicles parked on-site shall not exceed 1.5 times the number of dwelling units.
B. Maximum Clubhouse Building parking shall be provided at a rate of no more than three (3) spaces per one thousand (1,000) square feet of the building gross floor area and one (1) parking space for each guest room.
C. Parking for the dwellings and Clubhouse Building may be remote and not immediately adjacent to or on-lot with the dwelling, but must be on-site. Dwellings and the Community Building must be connected to the parking with a paved trail or sidewalk.
D. Up to a maximum of fifty percent (50%) of the required parking spaces in each parking area (including reserved parking) may be of width reduced by one (1) foot from that otherwise required pursuant to [Section 1707.2]. Reduced width spaces shall be limited to compact cars, so marked with signage, and if assigned to residents, so restricted to compact cars within the Homeowners Association documents.
E. Parking space depth may be reduced by up to two (2) feet from that required pursuant to [Section 1707.2.A.] when located adjacent to a landscaped or natural area which accommodates vehicular overhang, provided that these spaces have tire stops or curbs. The area of overhang will count towards any required setback.

3. Minimum Floor Areas. This provision shall supersede [Section 1710]. Each dwelling unit shall have a minimum floor area as follows:
A. Duplex dwelling units: 500 sq. ft.
B. All other dwelling units: 750 sq. ft.

4. Park Recreation, Open Space, Greenway and Trail Standards: [Section 1714] and [SALDO Section 424] shall apply except as described below:
A. Fifty percent (50%) of the Gross Tract Area shall be designated and maintained as Common Open Space by the Homeowners Association. Stormwater management facilities shall be allowed to count as part of the Open Space calculation.
B. Trail surfaces shall be designed to support both permeability and active use. With the approval of the Board of Supervisors, they may depart from the surface requirements of SALDO Section [424.E.6.d.2] in the context of a waiver request to be considered under the SALDO during the land development process.
C. Open Space devoted to Passive Recreation shall be relatively small areas dispersed throughout the community in order to heighten their visual impact. Accordingly, the following dimensional requirements shall pertain:
(1) Except for trails, each area shall average not less than seventy-five (75) feet in width in the wider dimension.
(2) Interconnected trails and paths in aggregate and each Open Space area shall be not less than six thousand (6,000) square feet and at least one Open Space area shall be not less than one and one-half (1.5) acres.
(3) A centrally located useable Open Space area shall be provided for community gatherings and recreation.
D. The provisions of [Section 1714.3] relating to prime agricultural soils shall not apply to development on infill sites as defined in this ordinance.

5. Design Performance Standards
A. Use an integrative design process
(1) Hold a community-wide workshop to discuss the principles used, the goals of the site team, and maintenance of the site. The Planning team for this community wide workshop or integrative design process shall, at a minimum, utilize a trained permaculturist, bird and wildlife specialist, licensed landscape architect, certified planner, and a civil engineer. The community workshop shall occur prior to application for Preliminary Plan approval. Notice shall be given of the workshop to the same parties and under the same procedure described in [Section 2000.5.B.(1)].
B. Reduce water use for landscape irrigation and other uses.
(1) Capture and reuse at least 100 gallons of the storm water runoff for every 1,000 square feet of building roof area and use it for irrigation.
C. Use native, relatively self-sustaining landscape plant material to reduce watering.
(1) All new ornamental landscape trees, shrubs and perennial plants, excluding those intended for food production or green roofs shall be plant species or hybrids of such species that are native to the northeast United States. Plants that are listed on the current DCNR Invasive Plants List shall be strictly prohibited from any new plantings. Green roofs shall be treated as impervious coverage for the purposes of this ordinance.
D. Design functional stormwater features as amenities.
(1) Incorporate into the stormwater management plan, site landscaping and outdoor features that serve as points of interest.
E. Reduce urban heat island effects.
(1) Use plants for shade, vegetated planters, and utilize light-colored paving surfaces for roads, walks, trails, courtyards, playgrounds, and parking lots.
(2) Use paving materials with an SR (Solar Reflective) of at least 0.33 at installation or a three-year aged SR value of at least 0.28.
F. Use vegetation to minimize building energy use.
(1) Employ and locate deciduous vegetation to provide shading of the window openings to minimize solar gain in summer, but allow gain in the winter.
(2) Use vegetation or vegetated structures or other elements to shade one hundred percent (100%) of the exposed surface area of all HVAC units within 10 years of installation.
G. Support human physical activity by providing for recreation including trails, community gardens, outdoor gathering spaces, walkable surfaces, and connections to local amenities.
H. Promote on-site food production.
I. Reduce light pollution.
(1) Utilize full cut-off lighting, parking lot and outdoor lighting on sensors, walkway bollards, and minimal lighting on buildings, consistent with Township design standards and [Section 1711] (except as modified specifically herein).
(2) During off peak-hours between 11:00 PM and sunrise, lighting output for exterior lighting sources shall be reduced to no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of maximum, except for activity which may trigger motion detection sensors to bring lighting output to maximum levels.
J. Provide accessible outdoor spaces that include seating, visual and physical access to vegetation, elements that reduce noise and distractions, and elements that address microclimate conditions such as sun, shade, and wind.
K. Encourage fuel efficient and multi-modal transportation.
(1) Provide electric car charging stations in a quantity equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of dwelling units in the community.
(2) All trail surfaces shall support bicycle use.
(3) Provide a transportation website and bulletin board in the Community Building that encourages ride sharing where routes and destinations coincide.

6. Emergency Vehicle Access.
A. Boulevard Driveway. Provide lane widths of fourteen (14) feet to accommodate large fire trucks for any driveway or street designed as a boulevard.
B. Aerial Tower Truck Access. Provide for permanent unobstructed access for a Fire Company Aerial/Tower Truck throughout the development driveways, parking lots and to within fifty (50) feet of each building. Access shall consist of surfaces that are paved or structurally reinforced to support the emergency vehicle WB-50 truck. Turning templates shall be provided on development plans to demonstrate that the required truck turning radii and structurally stable width is provided; path analysis shall be performed using Autoturn or comparable software. A post construction test-run shall be performed and any obstruction or unsatisfactory surface found during such test shall be removed or stabilized, prior to the issuance of any building code occupancy permits.
C. Pedestrian Accessway. Pedestrian Accessways shall be constructed of an unobstructed width and surface to provide for access by smaller, light-duty emergency vehicles. The street materials and thicknesses shall be sufficient to structurally support emergency vehicles as determined by the Township Engineer. Vehicle turning radii templates shall be provided on development plans.
D. Signs. No Parking signs, emergency vehicle access signs and other visual means should be used to designate each emergency access route as recommended by the local fire chief.

7. Solid Waste Collection
Solid waste collection stations shall not be located within any tract boundary setback area for a building or parking lot. Solid waste collection stations shall be fully screened by a solid wall, fence, evergreen planting or a combination thereof.

8. Roof Top HVAC Equipment
Roof top HVAC equipment shall be fully screened from view.

9. SITES v2 Rating System

The SITES v2 Rating System has a total of 200 potential points that are allocated among 48 credits for a given project site. The Rating System reflects each credits’ impact on improving site sustainability and protecting and restoring ecosystem services. Reference shall be made to Appendix “H” of this Ordinance for more information on the Rating System as well as the Scoring Table.

Projects will receive credits (points) by achieving the minimum requirements (prerequisites) and points for different levels of performance. Projects must achieve 85 points to be eligible for a fifteen percent (15%) housing density bonus. Points shall be tabulated using the Scoring Table found in Appendix “H”. Township Consultants, with the recommendation of the Township Planning Commission, will determine if a project achieves the necessary requirements to attain 85 points.

Prerequisite requirements must be met if a project is to be considered for Township approval. For the purposes of measuring compliance with Prerequisite 1.1, all land within the zoning districts, shall be considered an infill site and mitigation shall not be required. The Township has the option to waive certain prerequisite requirements upon demonstration by an Applicant of a unique hardship for a specific site and recommendation by the Township Planning Commission and approval by the Board of Supervisors. All credits are considered optional; however, a certain number of credit points must be approved for a project to achieve Township approval. Not all credits will apply to every project, but the array of credits provides multiple opportunities to achieve Township approval. If a project is approved by the Township, compliance with the Sites v2 Rating criteria shall be integrated into the Homeowners Association documents for the development. The development must maintain in perpetuity all features and aspects of the development used to contribute to the scoring of 85 points.

Applicants are encouraged to obtain publications which explain and define the SITES v2 Rating System. These publications include the SITES v2 Rating System for Sustainable Land Development and Design, and the SITES v2 Reference Guide (www.sustainablesites.org).

A. Submittal Requirements

Applicants are required to provide the following submittal documents at the time a SALDO (Subdivision or Land Development Ordinance) Plan Application is submitted to the Township.

(1) SITES Maps and Plans

For consideration for SITES approval by the Township, projects must provide a pre- and post-construction base map of the site showing the project’s key components. Credit documentation must use this information consistently as it helps demonstrate compliance to the Township with SITES prerequisites and credits. All additional maps or plans provided as supporting credit documentation must reflect this base map information and should also follow these guidelines:
. Include the SITES project name, relevant credit or prerequisite, location, and date of preparation.
. Choose colors and images that clearly communicate the intent of the project.
. Include a legend if icons, hatch patterns, or color palettes are used.
. Provide a scale and north arrow.
. Clearly define the SITES project boundary on all maps provided for review.
. Clearly define any Vegetation and Soil Protection Zones.

(2) Narrative Report
A report shall be provided to accompany the site maps which explains in detail the procedures undertaken to meet requirements. The report shall clearly define each step taken to follow the SITES v2 process and how each prerequisite was met and how each of the possible credit options was or was not met.

10. Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index
Each residential dwelling unit and the Clubhouse Building shall be designed and constructed to have a HERS Index Score of fifty (50) or less. The Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is a nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. A Certificate of Occupancy shall not be issued, by the Township or Township Building Inspector, for a dwelling until a written report is received from a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater certifying the dwelling has a HERS Index Score of 50 or less. Compliance with this requirement shall be integrated into the development Homeowners’ Association documents.

11. On-Site Energy Generation Requirement
Each residential dwelling unit shall have at least fifty percent (50%) of its estimated annual energy requirements provided by on-site renewable energy sources. Energy generated by fossil fuels shall not be used to meet this requirement. Solar energy, wind energy or other renewable energy sources shall be used. Compliance with this requirement shall be integrated into the development Homeowners’ Association documents. The Developer shall present for Township review and approval the method and design for achieving initial and ongoing compliance with this Section. Demonstration of compliance shall be submitted both with the project application for subdivision or land development and prior to the issuance of a zoning permit for any new structure.

12. Additional Requirements for Plans, Studies and Supplemental Information
In addition to the requirements specified above an applicant for Preliminary Plan approval of a development within the Overlay District shall meet the following additional requirements and shall include the following plans and studies or supplements and modifications thereto with its application:

A. Impacts. In reviewing proposed development, the Board of Supervisors will consider the totality of impacts of the Low Impact Development compared to a by-right development including the following:

(1) Resources Impact. Applicant shall prepare a table comparing the impacts and projected impacts of the Low Impact Development to the By-Right Plan described in paragraph 12.B below including:
(a) Building cover.
(b) Impervious cover.
© Vegetative cover.
(d) Proportion of paved surfaces that are pervious.
(e) Net kilowatt hours consumed and not generated on site.
(f) Gallons of water consumed.
(g) Fossil fuels consumed.
(h) Land disturbance within woodlands, riparian buffers, wetlands buffers and seasonally high water table soil buffers.

(2) Community Facilities and Services Impacts. Applicant shall demonstrate the availability of sufficient facilities and services in the categories below. In evaluating these impacts the Board of Supervisors may take into account mitigating construction detail, agreements and/or facilities made available to the wider community listed next to each:
(a) Park and Recreation Facilities, including the effect of prospective use by the public of:
i. Offsite improvements proposed by applicant which connect to public parks and recreation facilities;
ii. Open Space areas within the development where such use by the public is authorized in the Homeowners Association documents and other applicable restrictions and covenants, and
iii. Cultural and educational events proposed to be held in the Community Building and open to the public.
(b) Fire Protection, including mandatory sprinklers, hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire safe construction materials, as appropriately referenced in the construction plans and Homeowners Association documents.
© Police Protection, including any potential shortfalls in coverage and any potential contributions that may be paid out of Homeowners Association dues, appropriately referenced in the Homeowners Association documents.
(d) Emergency Medical Services, including and potential shortfalls in coverage and potential contributions that may be paid out of Homeowners Association dues appropriately referenced in the Homeowners Association documents.

(3) Fiscal Impact. Applicant shall show that the fiscal impacts on the School District and the Township are positive or at least similar to that which occur in a by-right development.

(4) Traffic Impact. In evaluating traffic impacts the Board of Supervisors may consider in addition to the projections of traffic volumes for the development computed utilizing standard methods, mitigation of impacts arising both from the development and on general area traffic volumes and impacts of:
(a) Homeowners Association covenants, Ride Sharing Agreements required to be entered into by purchasers and tenants of the development, and/or a community ride sharing website and bulletin board.
(b) Shared community (or affiliate) owned electric automobiles and vans to be utilized either to reduce the number of vehicles within the development and/or to provide for ride sharing to offsite employment, public transportation, and remote shopping, whether for residents of the development or the wider community.
© Offsite multi-modal improvements to be contributed by the applicant, including but not limited to: sidewalk connections, crosswalks, pedestrian and traffic signals, pedestrian signs, lighting, bus stops, park and ride facilities and bicycle lanes/route designations, specifically to include such offsite improvements not presently within the Township’s Transportation Capital Improvements Plan, for which the Board of Supervisors agrees to give credit under [Section 12–117.A.] of the Code of Ordinances.
(d) Fleet survey utilization data collected from prospective residents, including type and size of vehicle owned, commuting mileage, annual mileage, and fuel consumption.

B. By-Right Plan. The applicant shall prepare a sketch plan and narrative describing a By-Right development that could be built upon the tract in sufficient detail to corroborate the table comparisons described in paragraph A.(1). above and compute the fiscal and traffic impacts under the By-Right plan.

C. Sustainability Plan. The applicant shall submit a detailed narrative description of its plans in the following areas:
(1) Development and construction methods and materials. The applicant shall describe its plan to:
(a) Maximize the use of high recycled content locally sourced materials including native plant materials.
(b) Maximize the use of environmentally healthy and fire-retardant materials and systems.
© Conserve natural resources while maximizing reliance on renewable energy.
(d) Minimize and recycle construction waste and reuse resources disturbed during construction.
(e) Promote and maintain cultural and historic resources.

(2) Long-term conservation plan. The applicant shall describe its plans to:
(a) Restore vegetated and woodland areas by culling invasive species and planting native species.
(b) Conserve and reuse natural resources.
© Recycle on a community wide basis.

D. Education Plan. The applicant shall describe its plans and schedule to conduct ongoing educational events to promote sustainable development and conservation practices within the township and to the community at large.

E. Reporting Plan. The applicant shall continually monitor and report to the Township on completion of development and annually thereafter as applicable. The report shall include the following items:
(1) Implementation of its sustainability plan including completion of and any departure from the plan presented in paragraph C. above.
(2) A summary of the activities and results of the long-term conservation plan described in paragraph C.(2). above.
(3) A summary of the educational activities presented pursuant to paragraph C. above.
(4) A comparison of the population distribution and fiscal and traffic impacts computed under standard methods with the actual population and impacts. In order to comply with this provision the applicant shall install permanent traffic measurement devices and survey its residents annually.

F. Homeowners Association Documents. Applicant shall produce preliminary Homeowners Association documents and resident agreements with restrictions and covenants sufficient to insure compliance with the standards of this Article and observance of all promises relied upon by the Board of Supervisors prior to Final Plan approval. All such restrictions, covenants and promises shall be incorporated in the final version of such documents to the satisfaction of the Township Solicitor and Township Engineer.
Any development within the Low Impact Development Overlay District shall be governed by a Homeowners Association which shall own and maintain the common areas. The Homeowners Association may have one or more non-profit affiliates organized for such purposes as promoting sustainable development, educational activity related to sustainable development and promoting and operating ride sharing. The Homeowners Association shall be in accordance with [SALDO Section 424.G] standards and the proposed by-laws and governing documents shall be submitted for review and approval by the Township before final development plan approval is granted.

* * * *

The Township Zoning Ordinances are hereby amended to add a new Appendix to the Appendices section as follows:

Low Impact Zoning Ordinance … Appendix H

Appendix H contains information to define two sustainability provisions. The first is the Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS). The second is the SITES v2 Rating System for sustainable land design and development.

1. Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index

The Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is a nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. Homes are rated for energy efficiency and issued a HERS Index Score based on their energy performance. The rated home is compared to the HERS Reference Home to determine how energy efficient it is. The HERS Reference Home is modeled on an energy efficient home that conforms to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and has a HERS Index Score of 100. The lower a home’s HERS Index Score, the more energy efficient it is. A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater, hired by the Applicant or homeowner, assesses the energy efficiency of a home, assigning it a relative performance score (the HERS Index Score). The assessment shall be submitted to the Township Engineer for review and approval. The US Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index while a home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code is awarded a rating of 100. For example:
. A home with a HERS Index Score of 70 is 30% more energy efficient than the RESNET Reference Home.
. A home with a HERS Index Score of 130 is 30% less energy efficient than the RESNET Reference Home.

To calculate a home’s HERS Index Score, a certified RESNET HERS Rater does an energy rating on the home and compares the data against a “reference home”, a designed-model home of the same size and shape as the actual home, so the score is always relative to the size, shape and type of the proposed house.

2. SITES v2 Rating System

The SITES v2 Rating System has a total of 200 potential points that are allocated among 48 credits for a given project site. The Rating System reflects each credits’ impact on improving site sustainability and protecting and restoring ecosystem services. To better provide Applicants an idea of the goals of sustainable and low impact development project design, the following site goals are provided:

Create Regenerative Systems and Foster Resiliency
. Protect and restore natural resources such as soil, water and vegetation.
. Encourage biodiversity.
. Enhance landscapes to provide multiple ecosystem services such as cleaning air and water, providing habitat, and storing carbon.
. Mitigate for evolving hazards and natural disasters.
. Plan for monitoring and adaptive management.

Ensure Future Resource Supply and Mitigate Climate Change
. Minimize energy consumption and encourage use of low carbon and renewable energy sources.
. Minimize or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, heavy metals, chemicals, and other pollutants.
. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and upcycle materials and resources.
. Conserve water.
. Increase the capacity of carbon sinks through re-vegetation.

Transform the Market Through Design, Development, and Maintenance Practices
. Foster leadership in industry and professional practice.
. Use a systems-thinking, integrative and collaborative design approach.
. Use lifecycle analyses to inform the design process.
. Support local economies and sustainability policies.

Enhance Human Well-Being and Strengthen Community
. Reconnect humans to nature.
. Improve human health (physical, mental, and spiritual).
. Foster stewardship by providing education that promotes the understanding of natural systems, and recognizes the value of landscapes.
. Encourage cultural integrity and promote regional identity.
. Provide opportunities for community involvement and advocacy.

The SITES v2 Rating System consists of 18 prerequisites and 48 credits totaling 200 points for measuring project sustainability. Additionally, projects that employ innovative and exemplary performance strategies can receive bonus points (see Section 10: Innovation and Exemplary Performance). By providing performance measures rather than prescribing practices, SITES supports the unique conditions of each site and encourages project teams to be flexible and creative as they design and develop attractive, functional, and regenerative sites appropriate for their context and intended use.

Prerequisites and credits in the SITES v2 Rating System are organized into 10 sections that follow typical design and construction phases. Achieving a sustainable site eligible for certification begins with proper site selection and site assessment, continues through site design and construction, and includes effective and appropriate operations and maintenance. SITES v2 concludes with an emphasis on education and performance monitoring in order to increase the knowledge base of site sustainability. Applicants are encouraged to obtain publications which explain and define the SITES v2 Rating System. These publications include the SITES v2 Rating System for Sustainable Land Development and Design, and, the SITES v2 Reference Guide (www.sustainablesites.org)

SITES Scorecard
The SITES scorecard is a list of all the SITES v2 prerequisites and credits and their respective points. This tool helps projects note their initial goals and their progress in terms of the required prerequisites as well as the credits that the project team intends to pursue. The scorecard is a concise summary of a project’s credit goals, and SITES requires submission of the scorecard for Township review.



Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).