Low Impact Development (LID)

Are you planning for LID?

Low Impact Development (LID) will soon be the required method for managing stormwater in urban areas of Western Washington. Eastern Washington urban areas will also have allow LID in the near future. Recent NPDES stormwater requirements issued by the Department of Ecology (Ecology) mean that municipalities will need to integrate LID principles and best management practices into local codes and ordinances by the deadlines listed below. This new requirement will affect local government activities, policies, and processes in various ways, and each jurisdiction will be responsible for making the necessary preparations for being in compliance with their NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permits.

As officials responsible for guiding your municipal efforts, here are some tips for preparing your jurisdiction for the new LID Requirements, as well as some information on current and upcoming resources that should help you:

1. Find out your jurisdiction’s timeline

Western Washington municipalities must integrate new permit requirements by:

  • June 30, 2015: Phase I cities and counties (Western WA only)
  • Dec 31, 2016: Most Phase II Western WA municipalities
  • June 30, 2017: Cities of Kelso, Longview, Centralia and Cowlitz County
  • June 30, 2018: City of Aberdeen

Eastern Washington municipalities must implement the new permit requirements to allow LID by December 31, 2017.

See AWC fact Sheet #2 for more detailed information about timelines, or go online.

2. Identify your budget needs

Making the transition to LID may create short-term costs for local governments, including costs for internal procedure and design criteria changes, new tools and equipment, reporting, and additional staffing. Private developers may also incur costs for formally integrating LID as part of the standard development process. Jurisdictions will need to consider the costs that may be incurred from the new LID requirements and identify opportunities for financing these costs in upcoming budget deliberations. See AWC Fact Sheet #3 “Cost and Planning Considerations” for more detailed information.

3. Start planning now

  • Identify project team and lead staff for ordinance work
  • Determine staffing needs and impacts for implementing requirements
  • Determine budget needs and impacts to support transition and ongoing implementation
  • Facilitate interdepartmental coordination when incorporating these new LID requirements to ensure consideration of the most effective and efficient organizational approach

See AWC Fact Sheet #3 for more detailed information about LID planning and budgeting issues.

4. Incorporate LID sooner rather than later

Starting the planning process now will provide sufficient time and flexibility to engage your community and identify best strategies. The benefits of starting now are:

  • Start slowly to allow time to see what works for your jurisdiction
  • Educating development community stakeholders early can ease the transition to LID
  • Facilitating interdepartmental coordination ensures efficiencies across departments, especially since the code changes will affect multiple agencies and processes
  • Benefit from the experience of other jurisdictions
  • Ability to receive feedback from Ecology on your approach
  • Use resources available through Ecology and the Washington Stormwater Center to help train staff

5. Review your jurisdiction’s regulations and begin integrating LID efforts

Removing barriers to the implementation of LID through planning, code, and ordinance updates is an important step in preparing for these permit revisions. Existing local codes, plans, ordinances, and regulations may be affected, such as:

  • Comprehensive Plans and policies
  • Subdivision ordinances
  • Zoning ordinances
  • Clearing and grading ordinances
  • Landscaping ordinances
  • Utility requirements
  • Road and parking standards
  • Transportation plans and policies

6. Know that there are trainings and resources to help

To prepare your jurisdiction, it is important to identify which staff will be affected by the new requirements and schedule them for trainings. Ecology is providing tools to make the transition easier, with trainings on code updates/implementation, an on-line toolkit, and a variety of other resources. AWC also has resources on our website, which will be expanded in the near future to include a short video, an on-line toolkit, and a recorded webinar.

Additional resources will also be available through the Washington Stormwater Center website.

7. Engage the community

LID approaches will change how development occurs. It is critical for local governments to employ public outreach strategies that engage the community early and often around LID, the important role it plays in managing stormwater, and its multiple benefits. Efforts should be tailored specifically to the local community as requirements will vary across the state.

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