Innovative Resilient Zoning Proposal in Norfolk

Wetlands Watch's land use guru, Ross Weaver, testifies in support of Norfolk's proposed Resilient Zoning proposal.

Wetlands Watch's land use guru, Ross Weaver, testifies in support of Norfolk's proposed Resilient Zoning proposal.

The city of Norfolk is much in the news with its flooding problems. It should also be much in the news about the solutions it is trying to put in place.

Three years ago, Norfolk began a comprehensive rewrite of its 25-year old zoning ordinance. The goal was to develop the most resilient set of city building rules in the country. With the first draft on the table, it seems they are on their way toward that goal. Most of the innovative proposals are contained in a scheme called the "Resilient Quotient," which requires builders to design their projects in a way to collect enough resilient points to get the permit. The bigger the project, the more points needed.

Features that score resilience points include: elevation above surrounding ground levels to provide flood safety, wiring the structure to accept solar/wind generation, using storm proof standards and materials, holding stormwater runoff on site, vegetation standards to provide shading and use native plants, renewable energy/energy efficiency/efficient energy transfer (geothermal, etc.), and a host of other options.

Builders and homeowners can pick and choose their points but they have to have enough total points to move forward. We have not seen anything like this elsewhere.

Seems like Norfolk is getting ready to walk the walk.