Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Orange County Legislature (NY) adopts "Green Building and Environmental Protection Policy"

By Resolution No. 312, Orange County, NY adopted the "Green Building and Environmental Protection Policy" on recommendation of its Green Building Study Committee. The Resolution provides that:

* One employee of the County Department of Public Works shall be "trained and accredited in LEED Standards".

* All new construction and renovation of County buildings "address and incorporate into its design 'Green Building' practices", which include "sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere, material and resources; indoor environmental quality and innovation in upgrades; operations and maintenance".

* Any architect hired by the County for new construction projects shall have a LEED accredited person working on the project, and such person will work with a NYSERDA representative and an engineer chosen from a NYSERDA referral list.

* All "in-house construction projects" shall avail itself of the County LEED accredited person and/or the NYSERDA representative.

The minutes of the December 6, 2007 legislature meeting indicate concern with the reference to LEED standards while omitting competing standards. It should be noted that there is no requirement that construction actually be certified as meeting LEED or any other standard, and there are no continuing compliance requirements after construction is completed.

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Being a land use attorney brings a unique perspective to the many interests at play in the making of land use decisions. In the course of any application, you encounter public policy and private property issues that require both advocacy and compromise in hopefully attaining the goals of your client while serving the common good.

Recently, I have been immersed in issues involving "green building" and sustainable development. I have researched the "legislating" of "green building", familiarized myself with "LEED" and other "green building" certification models, and studied the science of environmental impacts on commercial, industrial and residential development to gain an overview of what might be accomplished by bringing concepts of sustainable development to the forefront in our planning processes.

My goal with this blog is to create a dialogue between towns, villages, cities, their planning boards and ZBA's, counties, developers, engineers, designers, surveyors, attorneys, IDA's, empire zones, building associations, and the like, in order to set a course in which "green building" and sustainable development become primary in the decisionmaking on all land use matters. This is a "from the ground up" endeavor. Let's make things happen!

Jay R. Myrow