ID#2487 made on
SSc5.2 - Site development - maximize open space
LEED BD+C: New Construction, LEED BD+C: Core and Shell, LEED BD+C: Schools
Our project is a multi-story residential project, located in Dubai, UAE. The site was virgin desert, but has been mass graded by the master developer and then sold to our client, a 3rd party developer...
Our project is a multi-story residential project, located in Dubai, UAE. The site was virgin desert, but has been mass graded by the master developer and then sold to our client, a 3rd party developer. And per the ruling 8/25/2008 on SS Credit 2, this project should not be considered previously developed and is therefore ineligible to earn SS Credit 2. As there is no municipal government with authority over this area, a free zone authority, Ports Customs and Free Zone Authority (PCFC - CED) has been established as the local regulatory authority. PCFC - CED is a fully state owned holding company by the government of Dubai. The master developer has created Development Control Regulations (DCRs) and these are applied and enforced as local zoning requirements. As stated in the DCRs, "PCFC - CED will act as the development control authority of Madinat Al Arab" (the name of the master development). Also stated in the DCRs, "PCFC - CED shall be responsible for issuing building permits." The building footprint occupies approximately 40% of the plot, but the underground basement, or development footprint, covers the entire plot. A mixture of planted landscape elements (palm trees, desert shrubs and grass), access roads, hardscape, make up the other 60% of the plot, with a ventilated but unconditioned underground parking garage located 3 to 5 feet below grade. We are attempting to clarify if Option 1 or Option 2 applies, since the local zoning requirement is defined by the master developer, and not the municipality. If Option 1 applies we are then attempting to clarify the following: "Reduce the development footprint (defined as the total area of the building footprint, hardscape, access roads and parking) and/or provide vegetated open space within the project boundary to exceed the local zoning's open space requirement for the site by 25%." The development footprint cannot change due to commercial and client requirements, so our approach would be to consider the second half of this option, beginning with, "and/OR provide vegetated open space within the project boundary to exceed the local zoning's open space requirement for the site by 25%." Since the local zoning requirement allows both hardscape and softscape areas to contribute to open space, we have calculated the open space requirement as follows: The local code (DCRs) requires that 20% of the plot area be allocated as open space but allows both hardscape and planted landscape, as well as areas above grade, to count as open space. The definition for open space from the DCRs is as follows: Open Space, Private: "Any area located within a privately owned unenclosed part of a building, or land appurtenant to the building, and which is set aside for the exclusive use of the owners and occupants of the building space to which it abuts. Private open space may include balconies, terraces, courtyards, roof top spaces, yards, and swimming pools and surrounds." The project will comply with DCRs first (20% of common private open space for each plot) then have an additional 5% (20X1.25=25) of the plot area as vegetated open space. The additional 5% would follow the path of previous CIRs and be native or adaptive vegetation and should help promote biodiversity (not monoculture), and help create a connection to the outdoors. Are we correct in applying compliance Option 1 for this project? If so, is our calculation method acceptable?
The project team seeks to determine the appropriate compliance path given a local zoning requirement (or comparable requirement) for open space that does not require vegetation. Based on the definition of open space in the zoning documentation, this project appears to fall under Option 3, reserved for those projects with a zoning ordinance but no open space requirement. Therefore the project would need to designate 20% of the site area to open space. Since the project cannot achieve SSc2, this space would need to be vegetated and pervious. The project description indicates that there is three to five feet of cover above the underground basement, which would be considered adequately pervious in a desert environment to meet the intent of this credit. In this setting, natural open space mimicking the surrounding ecosystem would qualify as vegetated open space.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)