As with any other type of policy or program at the municipal level, the extent to which a municipal Green Infrastructure Program is successful depends on whether its principles and practicesare embedded in municipal zoning bylaws, subdivision regulations and ordinances.
In Vermont, zoning bylaws typically specify:
- Basic separation of uses (residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, forestry, mixed use, conservation, etc.)
- Sets permitted and conditional uses (types of residence and businesses that are allowed by right or allowed but with certain restrictions.
- As zoning slowly adopted, bylaws often codify what already exists.
- While zoning affects uses, subdivision regulations have more effects on the quality of development: roads, lots, design standards, open space, public services, natural resource protections.
- Most applicable to previously “undeveloped” land. Therefore, has most effects on future stormwater impacts.
Municipal Regulations are key because of the numerous factors and mechanisms that indirectly or directly manage stormwater including but not limited to:
- Street Width, Street Length, Right-of-way Width, Cul-de-sacs
- Parking Ratios & Codes (minimums and maximums), Parking Lot landscaping, Parking Lot Runoff
- Lot Coverage, Building Coverage, Setbacks, Frontages
- Rooftops, Gutters, Driveways, Sidewalks, Vegetated Open Channels, Curbs, Drains
- Stream Setback, Stream Buffers, Buffer Maintenance
- Site Clearing and Grading; Conservation of Existing Trees and Vegetation; Open Space Design and Management
Here are some useful Checklists and/or Model language to evaluate how your municipal regulations can be improved in order to reduce the impacts of stormwater on daily basis.
Vermont Green Stormwater Infrastructure / Low Impact Development Municipal Review Template (Word Document)
Zoning Checklist by Vermont ANR (Excel Document)
Vermont League of Cities and Towns LID/GSI Model Bylaw [October] (Word Document)
Center for Watershed Protection Codes & Ordinance Worksheet (PDF)
Missouri - Integrating Green Infrastructure Into Ordinances (PDF)
Massachusetts - Low Impact Development Checklist (PDF)
EPA - Water Quality Scorecard (PDF)