Home Builders Change Ways for Chesapeake Bay

Home Builders Change Ways for Chesapeake Bay

Representatives from environmental groups and home builder associations have signed an agreement to create Builders for the Bay -- a novel program aimed at reducing environmental impacts from residential and commercial construction within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Under the leadership of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the Center for Watershed Protection, and the National Association of Home Builders, Builders for the Bay will encourage the voluntary adoption of 22 site design principles that reduce the environmental effects of residential and commercial development.

Over the next two years, the organizations plan to expand Builders for the Bay into at least 12 local jurisdictions in the Bay watershed.

"In certain areas, environmentalists and home builders agree that some of the current 'no growth' regulations are not in the best interest of environmental health or development," said Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay executive director David Bancroft. "Builders for the Bay provides a mechanism for builders and environmentalists to jointly examine 'no growth' regulations that could carry costly infrastructure and environmental impacts and voluntarily request changes in local ordinances."

Developed by the Center for Watershed Protection, these principles reportedly have succeeded in Frederick County, Md., and in Stafford County, Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg, Va. The aim is to restore natural hydrology, retain rainwater onsite and prevent the erosion and scouring of natural stream beds in local waterways.

According to Thomas Schueler, director of the Center for Watershed Protection, growth management and watershed protection can be developed hand in hand.

"We hope that this new partnership will serve as a national model and will help similar programs develop nationwide within the next few years," Scheuler said.

The agreement was signed before an audience that included Maryland Gov.Parris Glendening, District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams and EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman.

"As the population of the Bay watershed continues to grow over the next three decades, Builders for the Bay will allow home builders to develop land in an environmentally responsible manner and minimize our impact on the Bay," said NAHB Area III national vice president Earl Armiger.



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