ID#620 made on
SSc5.2 - Reduced site disturbance - development footprint
LEED BD+C: New Construction, LEED BD+C: Core and Shell, LEED BD+C: Schools
The intent of this point is to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity. Our project is a destination residential building at the base of a...
The intent of this point is to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity. Our project is a destination residential building at the base of an existing ski area. Our client owns XXX acres of developable land at the base of the ski area, and has plans to build multiple buildings clustered at the base of the ski hill, leaving XXX acres of open space on the site when buildout is completed. There are no legal property boundaries between this project and future phases, although property boundaries may be established for the purpose of building management. In addition, there are no local zoning codes that dictate open space requirements. As such, we are unsure how to apply this point to our project. It is the goal of our client to preserve as much of the existing natural features of the site as possible, which I believe is the intent of the point, but with unclear property boundaries, I do not know how to measure the success of the team in achieving that goal. Also, with the buildings planned to be in a cluster, surrounded by open space, it is clear that the project as a whole will meet the requirements of the point, but when taken individually, some of the individual buildings that are not immediately adjacent to the open space may not. Clustering the buildings is good practice in terms of concentrating the impact of human development in a limited area of the site, thereby leaving as much of the site in its original state as possible. This site planning technique also limits travel distances between buildings, thereby encouraging pedestrians. To evaluate this point, as well as other site related points, such as SS8 Light Pollution Reduction, I anticipate that we would establish a project boundary for each building in the development. To document the compliance with open space requirements related to this point, is it appropriate to gerrymander our site boundary between nearby buildings and into the open space, or would it be preferable to have two distinct property boundaries that are not contiguous, one defining our building and its immediate site, and another defining an equal area of open space within the developable land that is to be legally dedicated to open space? A third approach would be to submit the campus as a whole, indicating the developed area, and the area of open space, disregarding property lines for individual buildings within the site. With this approach, the overall campus plan would be submitted with each building to achieve the point for every building in the development. Are either of these approaches appropriate, or are there some other criteria that we should apply when defining our site?
Your CIR actually addresses SSc5.2, instead of SSc5.1 (as submitted), because it concerns designation of open space. Although SSc5.2 requires "open space adjacent to the building that is equal to the building footprint" for sites without local zoning requirements, it is plausible for a project in a campus setting to make the case for clustering buildings and consolidating the LEED-required amount of open space together next to the cluster, or in a different part of the campus, because wildlife experiences greater benefits from contiguous habitat than it does from small, isolated natural spaces. Without seeing the plans, it is difficult to determine the implications of submitting the campus as a whole. If the campus is submitted as a whole, the total project area should be used in calculating this credit and all other LEED prerequisites and credits (see SSc5.2 CIR ruling dated 1/18/2002). The campus approach might therefore preclude the acquisition of other credits. Likewise, based on the limited information available, the question of either "gerrymandering" the property boundaries to include adjacent open space versus allocating distinct property boundaries that are not contiguous cannot be definitively answered here.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)