Dallas Goes Green: Integrating iSWM into the City's Stormwater Design Criteria
Dallas wants to be the leader of major U.S. cities when it comes to protecting the environment. The City has already adopted one of the most progressive green building ordinances to address the design of structures, and now Freese and Nichols is working with Dallas to implement the Integrated Stormwater Management Design Manual for Site Development (iSWM) to better handle stormwater runoff from the land around those buildings.
City leaders want future development and redevelopment to take place in a way that is more protective of the natural setting. Proper management of stormwater runoff is a key component of this goal. With Dallas’ new planned approach to stormwater management, future development will be designed to provide flood, streambank and water quality protection.
Incentives for Better Site Design Practices
Key to Dallas’ approach to incorporating iSWM will be the use of incentives to encourage better site design practices, such as protection of floodplains and sensitive natural areas such as creeks and riparian buffers. Incentives to encourage the use of lower impact development approaches are being developed. Potential incentives include allowing narrower roadways, reduced parking lot requirements, grass-lined swales instead of curb-and-gutter streets, and other accommodations.
Integrating New iSWM Criteria
The City’s challenge that remains is to finalize and integrate the proposed new iSWM stormwater design criteria into the City’s existing processes and codes. The City has held numerous committee meetings throughout the year attended by engineers, builders, developers, arborists, environmentalists, and attorneys. The City is also holding town hall meetings to gather additional input from the community before determing the best approach to phase in the new standards.
Dallas leaders see the adoption of the iSWM criteria as a key component in its goal to continue to develop as a greener city. In conjunction with its leadership in green building standards and other environmental initiatives, Dallas is well on its way.