West Dearborn Street LID Stormwater Pilot Project
This project, located in Englewood, was the first of a kind, 100% Low Impact Development project in Southwest Florida. Sarasota County established a Community Redevelopment District (CRA), to help spur commercial development in the area located along West Dearborn Street and comprised of many individually owned parcels containing older commercial or residential developments and a number of vacant, open parcels.
The outlook on future development and redevelopment within the CRA was challenged by the prospect of having to provide individual stormwater systems on each parcel, a process which would have inhibited the maximized use of available property. Based on a feasibility analysis completed in 2006, the County first contracted the complete design of a regional stormwater treatment system for the commercial area of the CRA, using traditional design. As the design was being completed, permitted and in the bid process, Low Impact Development design for stormwater came to the attention of County staff and elected officials.
The County subsequently decided to not move forward with the construction of this traditional system, and selected DMK Associates to design a Low Impact Design system that would meet the stormwater needs of the CRA commercial district, follow and apply the recently adopted County LID Manual, and would pass the SWFWMD's regulatory scrutiny.
The Project's primary focus was to provide required stormwater treatment and attenuation necessary for full commercial development of individual parcels within the project area through the use of Low Impact Design (LID) such as bioswales, cisterns, bio retention, pervious pavement and sidewalks, pavers, etc.
Accordingly, DMK designed a 100% LID system for this commercial corridor, all within publicly owned property and existing roads rights of way. The project scope implemented other associated facets of the draft CRA Redevelopment Plan such as signing, architectural standards, beautification improvements, more parking spaces, landscape improvements and improvements to other County and CRA owned properties scheduled to be developed, within the project area.
One obstacle in the permitting process was that current regulatory SWFWMD rules were not designed to permit and approve a stormwater system that used these new LID concepts. Following several meetings between the design team, County staff and SWFWMD staff, the District agreed to consider permit applications that used this new LID concept, provided that they review each step of the design process, before applying for the permit. As such, our staff scheduled and attended with County staff, monthly meetings with SWFWMD, starting at the beginning of design in March 2010 and ending with the submittal for an ERP permit in late July 2010. Subsequently on August 31st, 6 months from the Notice to Proceed, SWFWMD issued the ERP permit to construct the improvements. Construction is scheduled to start before July 2011.
As part of this project, DMK researched and prepared a list of over 30 private and public potential grants to finance the improvements that include fiber optic conduits, over 140 additional parking spaces, 4 miles of permeable pavement sidewalks, utility relocates and neighborhood signs.
Construction of these improvements was completed in late 2013. The improvements have been successfully tested during the wet season of 2014.