Friday, March 20, 2009

Aligning Land Use and Water Quality

From 2006-2008, the Local Government Commission (LGC) worked with agencies and organizations to develop a watershed-based strategy for aligning local planning and stormwater management to minimize the water quality impacts of future development in Ventura County. This project, which is funded by California Water Boards, will help the county and cities therein comply with the new countywide NPDES stormwater permit, while meeting other environmental and community goals. Specifically, the project will help integrate land use pattern BMPs such as compact development with site-specific strategies referred to as Low Impact Development.

Few decisions have greater impact on the quality, reliability, use and overall sustainability of water resources than how and where we grow. The purpose of this plan is to better understand and bridge the disconnect between how we regulate land development and the standards we expect related to watershed health. This document is comprised of four main parts:
  • An assessment of existing conditions and policies to identify needs and opportunities.
  • A narrative explaining links between land use regulations in Ventura County and watershed health.
  • Specific policy recommendations for aligning land use planning, community design and stormwater/watershed management programs.
  • Technical review sheets to guide alignment of local codes and planning programs with stormwater and watershed management programs.
You can download a copy of the plan by clicking on the link below:

Water Resources and Land Use Planning: Watershed-based Strategies for Ventura County

Short Term
▼ Revise and update existing code requirements related to Stormwater Management.
▼ For the next General Plan cycle, develop broad themes of joint water/land development objectives.
▼ Elevate the role of sub-area planning as a watershed tool in General Plans and Codes.
▼ Explore use of existing planning tools to delineate sub-regional mitigation programs or RPAMPS and include in integrated water resources management plan.
▼ Improve design of pending capital improvements for permit compliance.
▼ Develop a first year plan for alignment, with notice of changes requiring State or Water Board action.
▼ Create a multi-disciplinary BMP team.
▼ Create a Water Mitigation Enterprise Fund.

Medium Term
▼ Create specialized “menu combinations” of BMPs based on the land development context and pollutants of concern.
▼ Scope out neighborhoods where pollutant/volume loading is high yet where developer driven BMP installment potential is low.
▼ Begin to develop hydromodification control strategies related to land development,
redevelopment and retrofit.

Long Term
▼ Implement a Watershed Wide EIR and premap a compact/redevelopment preferred
▼ Explore software to track smart growth, structural and non-structural BMPs.