Low-impact development project wins state award

An N.C. Cooperative Extension-led educational project on development practices to protect water quality recently won a top award from the N.C. Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The collaborative project, called Low Impact Development (LID) Multimodal Planning Resources for North Carolina, won the Marvin Collins Outstanding Planning Award. The award recognizes innovative and highly successful efforts to create sustainable communities.

The project resulted in a 310-page low-impact development guidebook, an online curriculum and three workshops that reached about 120 people with information on how to protect the state’s environment during times of growth.

Christy Perrin, of N.C. State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, says that the concept of low-impact development is gaining attention across the country, and the LID group wanted to make sure that N.C. developers and local government officials had resources that took into account the state’s geography, its regulatory environment and what local governments are already doing to encourage low-impact development.

“We found that it’s helping advance the conversation among local government,” she said of the guidebook. “It’s a tool that can be put in planners’, stormwater managers’ and elected officials’ hands, so it’s not just an abstract concept. The guidebook has a lot of tools and checklists that will help local governments with how to look at low-impact development in a practical manner.”

The project editors from N.C. State were Perrin; Dr. Lee-Anne Milburn, former faculty member in landscape architecture; and Laura Szpir, of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. They worked with partners from the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute, Upper Neuse River Basin Association, Tetra Tech, PLS, N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, McKim and Creed, City of Raleigh and Land of Sky Regional Council.

For more information, the project website is http://www.ncsu.edu/lid

—Dee Shore

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