Real Estate Journal — Pennsylvania — August 11 - 24, 2017 — 3C
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P ennsylvania By len F. Bradley, III, PE, Rgs Associates, Inc. Navigating the Regulatory World of stormwater management
escribing the land development enti- tlement process in Pennsylvania as “compli- D
and maintenance operations. While the integration of green infrastructure and low impact development stormwater solutions pro- vide inherent environmental benefits to a proMect, the long term cost benefits of these systems are also catching the attention of developers. In- corporating smaller, diverse types of stormwater facili- ties throughout a design can potentially increase a site’s developable area by elimi- nating the need for larger, traditional infrastructure such as detention basins.
By incorporating green in- frastructure solutions into a site’s stormwater design, the developer is often able to help the municipality meet stormwater goals, which can aid in gaining project buy- in. Being an environmental steward and a client advocate need not be competing roles. Rather, being both provides an opportunity to showcase sound engineering judgment and creative problem solving. Creating a Partner in the Project One of the more challeng- ing aspects of the land devel-
opment approval process can be interacting with multiple governmental entities and their review timeframes. Securing entitlements is a results-focused business; the developer and their con- sultant must understand the importance of engaging regulators to produce suc- cessful outcomes. Beyond the technical aspects, navigating the regulatory landscape is a relationship business. Developers and consultants should approach regulators as partners in their project rather than as adversaries.
Including regulators in the early concept phase of a proj- ect allows their concerns to be heard which can help avoid costly redesigns and adverse impacts on the overall sched- ule. Occasionally, regulators will want something that seems outside the purview of their review or simply differ- ent than originally proposed. We typically advise our cli- ents to work with the review- ing agencies if the outcome does not change the projects overall pro forma. Acquiesc- ing, instead of arguing, may continued on page 4C
cated” would be an under- statement. Navigating multiple re- v i ews and a p p r o v - a l s ac r os s Municipal, C o u n t y ,
Len Bradley, III
Conservation District, De- partment of Transportation (DOT), and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) can be overwhelming and extremely complex. One of the more significant ob- stacles within the approval process is the design of DEP- mandated post construction stormwater management systems. Significant por- tions of a project’s design budget are being allocated for the design, permitting, and approval of stormwater management systems. Savvy developers have learned that stormwater design and ap- proval can be the linchpin to keeping their project alive. One of the many chal- lenges of land development is navigating this process while maintaining the proj- ect schedule and meeting client expectations. Over the years, we have found success through a balance of science, planning, and diplomacy. It is the process itself that can be most unpredictable because of the many dif- ferent agencies, approving bodies, and varying agendas that come into play. Hav- ing honest conversations with our clients and the regulatory agencies at the beginning of each project, to review project goals and to establish an understanding of expected outcomes, can provide a road map to better navigate through the approv- als process. Better By Design The design of stormwater management systems cannot be an afterthought. It is es- sential that it is incorporated into the design development process during the early plan- ning stages. Developers need to understand how the selec- tion of stormwater facilities will impact permitting and approval timeframes, con- struction budgets and long- term financial obligations
integrating the ART of landscape architecture with the SCIENCE of civil engineering
Lime Spring Square, Lancaster
www. rg s a s s oc i a te s . com
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