The Lowdown on LA’s Low Impact Development

If you visited the LA Stormwater blog in recent weeks, you would have likely noticed postings on the Low Impact Development Ordinance (LID). In late 2009, the City of Los Angeles proposed a LID Ordinance, which would dramatically improve water quality in our city by incorporating LID strategies into the City’s already-existing stormwater requirements for development and redevelopment within the City. Several municipalities across the United States have already adopted such policies, including Los Angeles County, the City of Santa Monica, Orange County and San Diego County.

In case you’re wondering, what is LID anyway? In short, LID refers to land planning and engineering practices that mitigate the impact of stormwater pollution on the local environment.  In December 2010 the City Council approved the draft ordinance, which was passed by the Board of Public Works in January of 2010. Once implemented the ordinance will drastically improve the quality of our City’s stormwater. The ordinance is now in the City Attorney’s Office, and from there it will head back to the City Council and Mayor’s office for final approval.

“Having City Council move the LID Ordinance forward is a great milestone within the City of LA,” said Michael Scaduto, who is an Environmental Engineering Associate with the City’s Stormwater Program. “Incorporating Low Impact Development principals and techniques for managing stormwater into new development and substantial redevelopment within the City of Los Angeles will help improve water quality and assist in achieving the Mayor’s goal of making LA the greenest City in the nation.”  

Since the summer of last year, the City has been hosting meetings with stakeholders to develop a LID Handbook that will assist developers in meeting the ordinance requirements. On January 20, 2011, more than 60 community members and program participants attended our most recent stakeholders meeting. LA Stormwater Program Manager Shahram Kharaghani addressed the attendees and provided an update regarding the LID Handbook.

The first draft of the LID Handbook is planned to be released for public review and comments in March 2011, with a stakeholders’ meeting to follow soon after.

“The LID Ordinance should go down as one of Mayor Villaraigosa’s biggest environmental successes,” wrote Mark Gold of Heal the Bay after the City Council’s vote.  “Along with the Board of Public Works-approved water quality compliance master plan, the LID ordinance offers a blueprint for reducing urban runoff pollution through an integrated watershed management approach.”

To stay updated on the forthcoming LID Ordinance developments, please sign up for our eNewsletter. If you are already signed up, make sure that the “Low Impact Development (LID) Updates” box is checked in your preferences.

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