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Kitsap jurisdictions embrace low impact development concept

Five local jurisdictions have adopted new standards for low-impact development, which outlines a universal process for both new construction and redevelopment.

The standards — in the form of a manual used by Kitsap County as well as the cities of Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Port Orchard and Poulsbo — were developed by the Kitsap Homebuilders Association and approved by the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Homebuilders Executive Vice President Art Castle said the process “will work with a wide range of stakeholders to produce low-impact development standards that will provide enhanced environmental quality and appropriate credits for land owners, developers, builders, and homeowners while offering practical alternatives.”

The standards are primarily concerned with stormwater treatment, through the use of pervious — or pourous — pavement.

When used on a road or a parking lot, rainfall is quickly recycled into the ground rather than gathering in a pond or puddle.

“Some of these processes can be more expensive at first,” Castle said. “They can save money, because relocating the stormwater can free up land that is being used as a pond, and allow the land to be used in other ways.”

Castle and the Homebuilders have advocated low-impact development for some time, installing examples of compatible technologies outside of its Bremerton office.

These include various styles of pervious surfaces which allow the water to flow through the pavement rather than run off the sides of the area.

Non-pervious services cause a greater amount of oil and pollutants to enter the groundwater, according to Castle.

“LID minimizes the impact of new construction to a point similar to the pre-development conditions,” Castle said. “This is a tremendous benefit to the environment.”

The manual that will be adopted can be viewed at www.kitsaphba.org/LID/uploads/Final%20Report%20Narrative.pdf.

It provided greater details on the grant process, participants and deliverables and work product that resulted from the successful completion of the grant.

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