26, Apr Brandon Walter

Such a hectic start to the year, and we are already at the end of April. Not enough time to write blogs as I was either working some extreme hours or preparing for a little baby. Thankfully, baby was born last week and we are now back from the hospital and can get back down to business. The best part, was that everyone we work with was very understanding, though we did hit most deadlines still.

Plenty of projects to get out the door, and am saving up some files to talk about when I have more free time. One thing, Low Impact Development (LID), has been causing some problems lately. The general idea isn't too hard to make work; clean stormwater and take that concentrated flow off site. The larger problem is that the plan checkers are looking over LID mitigation with a magnifying glass.

Rain barrels are a good way to mitigate the stormwater for LID. This is where the pictures begin. Above is the old handout given to calculate LID for small scale residential. I am down at the Bureau of Sanitation at least once a month if not weekly, and like a sledge hammer I was told we could not use this many barrels anymore. Instantly, this becomes a problem for any project that hasn't gone through LID plan check with a temporary sign off. Now what is the problem anyways? FIrst, there was a higher limit on how many barrels that could be used. A typical new single family residence in LA fit under the old rules, but the new rules there is a bit more calculating to do. Meaning more oddball designs. Before we had an option to go from 2001-2500 sqft of impervious are and also add on if the house is larger.

Now we are given an upper limit of 1001-1500 sqft of impervious area to mitigate for. Most new houses in Los Angeles are larger than 1,500 sqft. The second thing added, was that now the rain barrels must show a certain square footage of area to be watered within a certain distance of the barrels. My goal is to have the landscape architects show this zone. But this is yet another thing we all have to add to the plans, and also prove this can be done.

The biggest problem with the change is that I didn't know about the modifications until I was at the counter asking about a project and the plan checker said you can't do that, where did you come up with that idea. This supposedly has been different for a long time. I disagree as we have a project with rain barrels approved recently with the old standard. Within the last 3 months approved recent project.

The real reason I post this is that this has changed the design on a few projects we were about to get fully approved. Also I can say one thing to a client, and magically the standards can change with no way of knowing when, and we look like we don't know what we are doing. Quite the contrary as we have so many projects flowing through the City that I generally get to see when standards change throughout the year almost to the month. The rain barrels decided to slip through the cracks. A gentle note is that these handouts, which I won't scan the whole set, are only given over the counter, and cannot be found online. They also don't come dated either which gives more problems of which handouts to use.

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