Active Recreation Area

Urban Active Recreation
FIGURE 6.5 The open space system should be connected and contiguous; active and passive recreation areas should be designed.

an area served by public centralized sanitary sewer and water supply services. The common sewer and water supply facilities could be owned and operated by a homeowners association. In such an arrangement, however, it is important that public oversight be provided in order to assure proper operation and maintenance of the sanitation facilities. Failure to properly perform these functions should result in the facilities being taken over by a public entity—a civil town or sanitary district—for proper operation and maintenance, with the associated costs being assessed back to the lots in the subdivision. Alternatively, a public sanitary district could be created to oversee the design and construction of the facilities concerned, and to operate and maintain those facilities.

The new urbanism design type subdivision layout is conceptually based on the urban development patterns of the past, with consideration given to the open space concerns of the present. Large-scale new urbanism subdivisions typically attempt to provide a central focal point in the form of a public "common" that is surrounded by mixed-use residential and commercial lots, and which may provide a neighborhood business and community center. Residential lots are often double-fronted, with one frontage on a public street and a second frontage on a utility corridor or alley running behind the lots and on which garages are located. The lots are smaller than typical in a curvilinear or even cluster design type subdivision, and residences are intended to be located close to the street line. The hierarchy—functional classification—of the streets is typically less distinct in a new urbanism design type subdivision than in a curvilinear or cluster design, and street rights-of-way and street pavement widths are often narrower. A grid, or modified grid street pattern, is typically favored. The closely spaced lots and small front yards are intended to contribute to an increased sense of neighborhood for the subdivision residents, but may demand a uniform architectural treatment of the buildings. The disadvantages associated with the new urbanism design type include smaller on-lot areas for private outdoor use due both to the smaller lot sizes and the location of garages adjacent to alleys. The grid street pattern may encourage the use of residential land access streets by through traffic, reducing desirable residential quiet, privacy, seclusion, and safety. Importantly, the grid street pattern cannot be readily adjusted to the topography of even gently rolling sites and may require excessive grading.

Utility Services

The type and quality of subdivision design will affect the location and cost of the utilities required to serve the development. In each of the three design types presented, sanitary sewers, water mains, and storm sewers would typically be located in the street rights-of-way. In a curvilinear design type subdivision, electric power and telecommunications facilities would typically be located within easements along side and rear lot lines. In a new urbanism design type subdivision, the electric power and telecommunications facilities would typically be located within the alley rights-of-way. The location and configuration of utilities to serve the urban cluster design type subdivision requires particularly careful consideration on site specific bases. Where narrow street rights-of-way and roadway pavements are used, utilities can only be located under the street pavements to the extent that required horizontal separation distances between sanitary sewers, storm sewers, gas mains and water mains can be maintained within the limits of the narrower pavements.

The provision of adequate treatment and disposal of sanitary wastes, and the provision of a safe water supply are particularly important to the sound development of land subdivisions. The preferred method of providing these essential services is through the provision of centralized public sanitary sewer and water supply services. If a subdivision is not located within the boundaries of an existing service district, the needed services may become available through annexation to the central municipality, through the formation of a sanitary district, or through a utility corporation. In some situations, developers may propose to construct their own facilities including treatment plants. Rising federal and state environmental standards, together with the need to operate and maintain the systems over time, makes this approach problematic in the absence of public over sight and regulation. An increase in the number of connections required to sustain a financially viable sanitary sewerage or water supply system means that a growing number of small systems may no longer be financially viable. Therefore, questions of the future size, ownership, and quality of management need to be addressed as part of the development proposal.

In some situations, on-site well water and septic tank treatment and disposal systems may offer the only practical means of serving scattered low-density residential developments. To be acceptable, the individual sanitary facilities must be carefully designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with good practices. Where the soils are unsuitable for the proper treatment and disposal of septic tank wastes by conventional subsurface means, every effort should be made to prevent the subdivision and development of the land concerned until public sewer service becomes available.

Where individual on-site wells are proposed for a subdivision, a hydrogeo-logic study, including test wells, may be indicated to ensure that the aquifer concerned can supply adequate water for the proposed development. It may also be desirable to require that wells drilled on-site be tested for yield and for microbiological, chemical, and physical quality before a permit to build is given. To constitute an adequate water supply for a single-family home, a well should have a sustained yield of 8 to 10 gallons per minute. In some situations, a lesser yield may be acceptable, but a special engineered design, including storage, may be required.

When either individual well or septic tank systems are required, or when both are required, the preparation of a proper set of plans for the subdivision development will make possible the orderly installation of these facilities on individual lots. Details to be included on the development plans should include the site topography; soil maps; location of required soil borings and test pits, and the attendant soil tests and test results; depth to water table; lot layouts showing the proposed location of houses, wells, and sewage disposal systems; together with the provision for good lot, block, and street drainage; diagrams showing, typical well construction, pump connections, and sanitary seals. Similar diagrams showing details of typical septic tank, distribution box, and soil absorption field details should be given. In some situations, mound-type systems may be required. Each lot requires careful study and adaptation of general principles and typical details so that proper development results. For example, the soil percolation tests and soils information should determine the type and size of the required on-site sewage disposal facility. The final lot grade and house, driveway, walks, and patio locations should determine the locations of the on-site well and sewage disposal system. The type of well, required minimum depth of casing, need for grouting of the annular space around the casing, and sealing of the bottom of the casing in solid rock will vary with each location. These are some of the considerations requiring the adequate engineering services.

Counties, cities, villages, and towns should adopt sanitary, building and plumbing codes, and zoning ordinances regulating the use, installation, operation, and maintenance of on-site sewage treatment and disposal and water-supply facilities. These codes and ordinances should be adopted within the context of a comprehensive plan. Individuals proposing to install an on-site sewage treatment and disposal, or an on-site water-supply facility, should be required to make application to a designated department for a permit to build and to use and install attendant proposed sewage disposal and water supply facilities. The applications should be accompanied by soil maps, percolation tests, and facility-location design details. The cognizant public agency staff should be responsible for inspection during construction of the facilities to ensure compliance with the plans. When the facilities concerned have been properly installed, an occupancy permit may be issued for the residence concerned.

Fiscal Analysis

A proposed land subdivision should be accompanied by a fiscal impact, as well as an environmental assessment. The fiscal impact assessment requires estimates to be made of the total cost of providing the required public infrastructure, including capital investment, operation, maintenance, and replacement costs, together with estimates of the total public revenues to be derived from the proposed development. The types of infrastructure and attendant public services to be considered should include, among others, sanitary waste treatment and disposal; water supply; solid-waste collection and disposal; parks and playgrounds; libraries; street cleaning, snow plowing and pavement maintenance; traffic control; police and fire protection; emergency medical services; street lighting; street trees and other plantings; and schools, The costs of providing these facilities and services should be estimated based on local conditions and experience. Sources of revenue may include real property taxes, impact fees, sales taxes, income taxes, property transfer fees, permit and license fees, user charges, interest earnings and federal and state loans and grants. An analysis of the potential cost of the required facilities and services versus the potential revenues derived from the development will provide important information on the probable fiscal impact of the proposed development on the community. This impact, together with other factors, such as compatibility with the adopted comprehensive plan and findings of an environmental assessment should be considered in granting approval, or conditional approval, for the proposed development, or in rejecting the proposed development. Generally, fiscal impact assessment will show that low- and moderate-value residential development does not yield enough in property taxes to pay for the municipal services required unless supplemented by user charges or other revenues.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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