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Construction of demonstration LID project gets underway

The Home Builders Association of Kitsap County began construction in May on its low-impact development project that will incorporate several techniques, including pervious pavement, a rain garden and a roof garden. The HBA is receiving about $125,000 worth of donated labor, services and materials for the project.

“It’s a long list of contributors,” said Art Castle, Kitsap HBA executive vice president, ticking off a few names: Fred Hill Materials, FPH Construction and Mike Brown, Ace Paving, and Mutual Materials.

Construction will last through June and will include the widening of the Auto Center Way sidewalk by the city of Bremerton, which will also utilize pervious concrete. The HBA demonstration project will incorporate six types of pervious pavement in its parking lot, a shed with a roof garden, and a rain garden. The rain garden, 60 feet long and 60 feet wide, will include native plants, which will be planted by volunteers in June. Together, the elements are designed to reduce the storm-water runoff on site.

The Kitsap HBA, a nationally acclaimed pioneer in the “green building” field, has been working on bringing LID techniques to Kitsap County for several years. LID is a storm-water management and land development strategy applied on individual parcels that allows for environmentally friendly, on-site control of storm-water runoff by mimicking the natural, predevelopment hydrology of the site. LID principles were introduced in the mid-’80s and have been widely used on the East Coast for many years. In recent years, many West Coast jurisdictions starting with the cities of Portland and Olympia started recognizing LID.

In Kitsap County, the challenge, until recently, was the fact that the methods, while being more environmentally friendly, required variances because they were not recognized by building codes. This February, the county amended its storm water management manual to incorporate low-impact development principles.

“Now, the techniques have been brought mainstream, and it’s a matter of teaching the public sector ,” Castle said.

The demonstration project, which is designed to do just that, is part of HBA’s efforts to promote low impact development in Kitsap. The HBA Foundation received a grant from the EPA in 2005 to bring jurisdictions together to establish language for new LID ordinances. Another grant was received from the Puget Sound Action Team for the LID demonstration project specifically.

“We’re creating a showcase to show off a number of techniques… You can touch them, taste, and feel them, and that’s very important,” Castle said.

The HBA, working with a leadership team that includes representatives from local jurisdictions, is also working on developing LID standards that would be enacted by the county and the local cities.

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