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Growing Sustainably in an Unprecedented Time of Change: The Sustainable Development Code and Integrating Sustainability

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Growing Sustainably in an Unprecedented Time of Change: The Sustainable Development Code and Integrating Sustainability
Prof. Jonathan Rosenbloom, Visiting Professor, Vermont Law School
8th Americas Regional Meeting
23-25 September, 2019, Burlington, USA

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Growing Sustainably in an Unprecedented Time of Change: The Sustainable Development Code and Integrating Sustainability

  1. 1. Growing Sustainably in an Unprecedented Time of Change: The Sustainable Development Code and Integrating Sustainability Foliage along Lake Champlain Jonathan Rosenbloom Vermont Law School 8th Americas RCE Meeting, Sept 2019
  2. 2. Development is Coming • 50-75 million people in U.S. population growth by 2040 • Will require approximately 90 billion additional sq. ft. of commercial/retail/ industrial space • Will result in nearly ½ of all residential housing to be new (about 80 million units) ARTHUR NELSON, PLANNER'S ESTIMATING GUIDE: PROJECTING LAND-USE AND FACILITY NEEDS.
  3. 3. Where will this growth go? What will it look like? • Pursuant to existing development codes, land consumption outpaced population by 30-50% • At the low end (30%), by 2030, 40 million undeveloped acres will be destroyed to accommodate new construction • That is about the size of New York and Vermont combined
  4. 4. Already Vulnerable Infrastructure “[T]he Nation’s infrastructure suffer[s] from chronic underinvestment, system failures and service shortfalls.” • National Infrastructure Advisory Council, Water Sector Resilience Final Report and Recommendations (2016). “[U.S. infrastructure] is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. . . . [T]he system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of serious concern with strong risk of failure.” • 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, American Society of Civil Engineers (2017) (giving U.S. infrastructure a D+).
  5. 5. Uncertainty . . . • Rural Ecosystems (“The region’s rural industries and livelihoods are at risk from further changes to forests, wildlife, snowpack, and streamflow.”) • Changing Coastal & Ocean Habitats (“Warmer ocean temperatures, sea level rise, and ocean acidification threaten [coast and ocean support commerce, tourism, and recreation].”) • Urban Interconnectedness (“Major negative impacts on critical infrastructure, urban economies, and nationally significant historic sites are already occurring and will become more common with a changing climate.”) • Human Health (“Changing climate threatens the health and well- being of people in the Northeast through more extreme weather, warmer temperatures, degradation of air and water quality, and sea level rise. These environmental changes are expected to lead to health-related impacts and costs, including additional deaths, emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and a lower quality of life.”) U.S. Fourth Nat. Climate Assessment, Chapter 18: Northeast.Red Knot (Threatened Animal)
  6. 6. www.sustainablecitycode.org
  7. 7. A Menu of 32 Subchapters: Sustainability in Development Codes
  8. 8. Climate Change, Chapter 1.1
  9. 9. Climate Change, Chapter 1.1
  10. 10. Examples: Zero Net Energy Buildings  Requirement of 2-10 watts per square ft, can be less if shown less energy is needed  Requirements of solar ready area  Efficiency requirements  May apply to residential, commercial, and/or multi-family
  11. 11. Additional Examples Sebastopol, CA, Sebastopol City Code § 15.72 (pub. 2018). Scottsdale, AZ, Green Construction Code § 31-145 (l) 610.1 (2017). Santa Monica, CA, Ordinance No: 2540 CCS (2016). Davis, CA, Municipal Code § 8.20.010-70 (2018).
  12. 12. Examples: Maximum Size Single-Family Residence  Heights over a certain dimension count more toward floor-area-ratio (ex. areas w/ 14 ft ceilings count 2x sq. footage)  Setting a smaller limit on square footage (ex. max square footage at 2,300)  Limiting footprint on lot (ex. 20% of lot)
  13. 13. A Menu of 32 Subchapters: Sustainability in Development Codes
  14. 14. Sensitive Lands and Wildlife Habitat, Chapter 1.3
  15. 15. Examples: Large-Lot and Preservation Zoning in Rural Areas Highlights  Designation of critical habitat zones  In zones, minimum lot sizes per residential dwelling unit are 80, 160, or 320 acres  Any development must minimize impact on wildlife habitats and corridors  Clustering is encouraged or required
  16. 16. Sensitive Lands and Wildlife Habitat, Chapter 1.3
  17. 17. Examples: Expand Tree Canopy Cover  Set canopy targets, such as increase by 40% by 2030  Establish “tree save areas” requiring setback from trees  Offer incentives for expansion of tree save area  Afforestation requirements (ex. min. coverage such as 15%)  Replanting of 10 trees for every 1 removed
  18. 18. Thank you! Jonathan Rosenbloom jrosenbloom@vermontlaw.edu (215) 760-8704

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