Better Site Design: Changing Development Rules in Our Community

Sharonville, Ohio
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Better Site Design: Changing Development Rules in Our Community
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM (Eastern Time)

Sharon Woods
Sharon Centre
11450 Lebanon Road (US Route 42)
Sharonville, Ohio 45241

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7 CE/CM credits are available for this event!

Few land development practices simultaneously reduce pollutant loads, conserve natural areas, save money, and increase property values. Indeed, if such “wonder practices” were ever developed, they would certainly spread quickly across the nation.  As it turns out, these practices have existed for years.


Better Site Design is a fundamentally different approach to residential and commercial development.  Why is it so difficult to implement better site design in so many communities? The primary reasons are the outdated development rules that collectively govern the development process: a bewildering mix of subdivision codes, zoning regulations, parking and street standards, and drainage regulations that often work at cross-purposes with better site design. Few developers are willing to take risks to bend these rules with site plans that may take years to approve or that may never be approved at all. 

In 1997, a national site planning roundtable was convened to address ways to encourage better site design techniques in more communities. The participants represented the diverse mix of organizations that affect the development process and provided the technical and real world experience to make better site design happen. After two years of discussion, the roundtable endorsed 22 better site design techniques that offer specific guidance that can help achieve the basic better site design goals. These techniques are organized into three areas:

1. Residential Streets and Parking Lots
2. Lot Development
3. Conservation of Natural Areas

This workshop introduces each of the Better Site Design techniques, describes some of the barriers to their wider use, and suggests ways to overcome these impediments.

Who should attend this
Better Site Design workshop? 

Those involved in the designing and building of new developments and communities.

  • Planners
  • Landscape Architects
  • Engineers
  • Developers
  • Government Officials


What you’ll learn:

  • What is Better Site Design?
  • 22 model development principles that that provide design guidance for economically viable, yet environmentally sensitive, development;
  • How to complete an in-depth review of the standards, ordinances and codes that shape how development occurs in our community;
  • How to change the development rules in our community;
  • The benefits of Better Site Design;
  • Interactive exercise: Applying Better Site Design to a local site plan.

Presented by:

Founded in 1992, the Center for Watershed Protection is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to protecting and restoring watersheds through effective land and water management. The Center has developed a multi-disciplinary strategy to provide technical assistance to local governments and non-profits who work to protect the nation’s water resources. The Center has helped communities around the country discover the importance of approaching environmental work at the watershed level. The Center is protecting and restoring watersheds by developing training programs for watershed professionals, fostering local partnerships with community groups, conducting practical research, facilitating consensus-based environmentally-friendly development principles, and providing direct watershed management services to local communities.

Since 1998, the Center has promoted environmentally-sensitive design through the application of 22 Better Site Design (BSD) model development principles. BSD strives to minimize the impact of new development by reducing the amount of impervious cover on site, retaining natural areas, and using an integrated approach to stormwater management (which includes the use of low impact development techniques). Principles for redevelopment and infill have also been developed. The goal of BSD is to ultimately preserve and enhance more natural areas, reduce and manage the amount of stormwater that flows off of a development site, and maintain economically viable development.


Hye Yeong Kwon
Executive Director
An outdoor enthusiast and crazy cat lady, Hye Yeong (pronounced Hay Young) has been with the Center for Watershed Protection for over 12 years. As the executive director for the past five years, Hye Yeong's responsibilities include both organizational and project management duties. One of Hye Yeong’s technical focuses at the Center has been the propagation of environmentally sensitive site design. She has authored and co-authored several manuals and articles on the practice of environmentally sensitive site design and watershed planning, including the Better Site Design Handbook, Rapid Watershed Planning Handbook, the Virginia Better Site Design Handbook, and the Conventional vs. Innovative Site Design Manual. She has also written articles for Builder Magazine, River Notes, and the Center’s Watershed Protection Techniques on this topic.  Hye Yeong has a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Management, and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland.

Julie Tasillo
Watershed Analyst
Julie is a Watershed Analyst at the Center.  Her responsibilities include coordination of Better Site Design projects, technical analysis, research and writing, watershed analysis and planning.  Recent work includes facilitation of a local site planning roundtable in Carroll County, Maryland; development of a restoration management plan in Annapolis, Maryland, and completion of stream and upland assessments in the James River, Virginia.  Julie has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the State University at Buffalo and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.

Registration includes:

Better Site Design: A Handbook for Changing Development Rules in Your Community
Center for Watershed Protection Released: 1998
($35 value)

Covering everything from basic engineering principles to actual vs. perceived barriers to implementing better site designs, the handbook outlines 22 guidelines for better developments and provides detailed rationale for each principle. Better Site Design also examines current practices in local communities, details the economic and environmental benefits of better site designs, and presents case studies from across the country. Includes a sample Codes & Ordinances Worksheet.


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