Last summer, the GHBA along with other development and community stakeholders were invited to participate and contribute in the process to develop the City of Houston’s Green Stormwater Incentives to encourage the use of green stormwater infrastructure in development within the City.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) is designed to mimic nature and capture rainwater where it falls. Green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while also providing multiple community benefits such as reducing localized flooding, improving community aesthetics, improving economic health by increasing property values and decreasing the economic and community impacts of flooding.
These techniques can include using biofiltration, rain gardens, vegetated filter strips, porous pavements, rainwater harvesting, urban forests and other strategies to manage near where the rain falls.
After a yearlong study, the report published by the City of Houston recommends four incentives to encourage the use of green infrastructure by the private sector. The incentives are:
- Integrated GSI Development Rules: The City will adopt rules that harmonize parking, landscaping, open space, drainage design, detention design and stormwater quality design requirements.
- Property Tax Abatements: The City will defer or reduce property tax bills for developers who use GSI in their projects.
- Award and Recognition Program: The City will recognize and award developers who use GSI.
- Increased Permitting Process Certainty and Speed: The City will provide a fee-based, more consistent and faster plan review process, with lower fees associated with projects that use GSI.
While the GHBA is supportive of the City’s proposed Green Stormwater Incentives for encouraging the use of green and low impact development practices, we only support these as an option for a developer’s use and not a requirement.