River Bluffs Sets the Standard for Future Low Impact Developments along the Coast of North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C.--()--Low Impact Development (LID) techniques and processes are becoming more well-known, understood and desired among real estate developers and buyers along the coast. However, current permitting regulations support conventional development techniques, placing tremendous burden on those who adopt alternative development practices such as LID.

Wilmington developer Burrows Smith instantly recognized the benefits of using LID for developing his new waterfront community, River Bluffs, a 313-acre community alongside the Cape Fear River in Castle Hayne, NC. While he still fully believes in the LID concept, after working through the process, he understands why many developers are still hesitant to implement LID techniques.

“Currently the permitting process for stormwater is geared toward more conventional development design,” states Mr. Smith. “Under these existing processes, for each variation in the a conventional development technique, it requires a developer to submit 20 - 35 supplemental forms, four to five pages each, and requires a maintenance agreement and soil samples for each submission,” added Smith.

“Also, state and federal regulators severely impeded the use of LID because they don’t have consistent and cohesive processes,” continues Smith. “Each LID technique must be individually approved by each regulatory agency which leads to a tremendous slow downs and confusion in our development timelines,” states Smith.

But things seem to be changing for the better. Over the last few years, local governments, the NC Coastal Federation and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have been working together to develop tools to simplify the permitting process.

These agencies are also improving the educational opportunities for new development techniques like LID. On March 26-27, NC Coastal Federation will host a Low Impact Development (LID) Summit in Raleigh. During this summit, attendees will be introduced to the benefits of LID. They will also be shown tools like StormEZ, an interactive spreadsheet that allows engineers to demonstrate compliance to rules and regulations in one form instead of potentially 30. The summit will also focus on illustrating to developers that while LID is good for the coastal waters, it is also good for the developers’ wallets and can save them money in the long run.

Mr. Smith has been invited to discuss the real and perceived obstacles of implementing LID. His presentation, “Overwhelming LID Obstacles: How to make Projects Work and Lessons Learned,” will also highlight how he saved money using simple techniques known to control runoff.

“We see Burrows as a hero,” states Lauren Kolodij, the Deputy Director of the North Carolina Coastal Federation. “The LID approach is relatively new. Burrows immediately recognized and embraced the benefits of the new approach despite the overwhelming amount of obstacles he has faced,” continued Kolodij.

While LID and other environmentally friendly development techniques are still new there seems to be a growing interest in them. If the process can be simplified and the techniques can save developers money, then it may be only a matter of time before these new approaches to real estate development become the norm.

About River Bluffs

A Low Impact Development with a coastal waterfront lifestyle all its own River Bluffs is being developed on a philosophy of sustainability and environmental preservation and will be the leader in innovative low impact development techniques in the coastal southeast and will be a model for the entire state of North Carolina. The developers of River Bluffs are ensuring that more than a third of the historic land be permanently preserved as open space, trails and parks. The community is certified as a Low Impact Development (LID) due in part to its water re-use, rainwater harvesting and storm water control techniques. The community’s land plan preserves the existing rolling terrain, native hardwoods and high bluffs overlooking the Cape Fear River.

Contacts

For River Bluffs
Kelly Burnette, 910-256-2320
Kelly@maximumdesign.com

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Contacts

For River Bluffs
Kelly Burnette, 910-256-2320
Kelly@maximumdesign.com