Virginia Town Seeks to Combine Affordable Housing and Stormwater Runoff Practices

An October 17 Bay Journal article discusses the plans of a small Virginia town to develop affordable housing while also using low-impact development and stormwater best management practices.  The town of Lexington plans to develop approximately 24 homes on lots measuring 950 square feet on a 4-acre tract of land.

Through a partnership with several agencies, each of the homes will have a rain barrel that allows residents to collect and reuse the water, and each lot will have a rain garden that helps filter and clean water before it leaves the property.

These and other additions are funded in part by a $200,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, which recognized the significance this development could have for others throughout the watershed.

“This project is a unique example of a local government integrating environmental protection into affordable housing,” said Jake Reilly, director of Chesapeake Bay Programs at the NFWF.  …

And, perhaps most importantly, residents that move into the homes will receive training on how to make the most of their stormwater-optimized abodes.  …

[Lexington Planning and Development Director Michael Zehner] who is certified for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED, said he hasn’t seen this level of green innovation in one project over his decade in the industry. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development gave the city a grant to fund the extensive planning the project required. And a $700,000 federal Community Development Block Grant helped the city acquire the site.

The article also notes that two of the 24 homes will have vegetated green roofs and although porous sidewalks are being considered, annual maintenance requirements may make them impractical.