Civilitude’s Jim Schissler achieved a big win with the Environmental Commission in early September. As the principal civil engineer on the property of 1010 Clermont Avenue, a corner lot along IH-35 close to Lake Austin, one of his main jobs was to assess the environmental impact of stormwater runoff and make responsible decisions based off of that. For this particular property, he needed more impervious cover (think: cement and non-porous surfaces) to be able to build additional parking spaces. While a parking lot isn’t the most interesting thing in the world, these choices are important for the quality of our water and our environment.
The Environmental Commission voted on Sept. 2 to recommend a variance to allow up to 70 percent impervious cover for the property. While this is a greater percentage of impervious cover than the 40 percent permitted in a waterfront overlay, it’s less than the 90 percent impervious cover a developer is normally entitled to on a commercial lot. And with such strict constraints, the Watershed Protection Department staff offered their support for the variance. “I believe that the proposed project provides greater environmental protection,” Environmental Officer Chris Herrington wrote in a letter to the commission. This took Jim a few months to achieve, as he needed the approval of 3 different commissions for the design to be a go. His proposed design includes a rain garden, landscaping, and water management techniques aimed at reducing storm runoff and pollutants, which reassured all three that the environment was still a concern of his in his design process. We’d say that his extra time spent was well worth it, wouldn’t you?
Read more about it in this article by the Austin Monitor!