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CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY COMMITTEES: MODEL PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN REGULATORY AGENCIES AND THE PUBLIC

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Abstract:

The paper will inform attendees how to create, establish, maintain and benefit from a Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) in their communities. It highlights the lessons learned through the development and implementation of CAC. It also highlights several development projects that have participated in the CAC process.

A CAC is open to the public and comprised of local community officials, local developers, State and County regulators, members of local environmental groups and private citizens. The Committee works together to provide preliminary comment on proposed development site plans within the community. CAC comments engender for increased public involvement in the development planning process, leading to better developments, better protection of local natural resources, reduced citizen complaints, decreased site plan permitting review time/cost, decreases in engineering cost and consensus from all concerned parties that the development is “good” for the environment and the community.

The CAC serves as an informal forum for comments to be presented to developers before they submit extensive site plans to municipalities and regulatory agencies. The CAC meets and discusses their site plan comments with the developer. These comments involve a myriad of issues including wetlands, soil erosion, river friendly lawn and garden practices, zoning concerns, density, low impact development concepts, storm water issues, natural feature protection and land use concerns. The developer incorporates the CAC comments and suggestions into the site plan. This expedites the permitting of a publicly approved, environmentally conscientious site plan.

The CAC concept was developed in the Johnson Creek Watershed (Northville Township, Michigan) as a response by local and county governments to promote developments that were environmentally sensitive. Over the last three years, the Johnson Creek CAC has reviewed over 20 development projects and has had significant successes. In one development, the site's storm system layout was changed to facilitate an adjacent development's storm water. The CAC also convinced the developer to build a large regional storm water pond to hold that additional water. This pond was fitted with a cold water draw discharge to the outlet to protect the fragile trout stream it discharges to. Through successes like this one, regulators, developers, participating communities and the public have recognized the implementation of the CAC as an effective way to create developments that are environmentally friendly, economically sensible and acceptable to the public.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864704790896045

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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