May 30, 2006




To:                  City Planning Commission

From:              Karen Firehock, City Planning Commission Chair

Re:                  Goals and Objectives for City Comprehensive Plan from the Green

Building Committee

Cc:                  Jim Tolbert, Neighborhood Development Services



Greetings Commissioners.  Following are goals and objectives suggested for incorporation into the revised City Comprehensive Plan that were developed during a green building forum held at the Design Center with representatives from the city and the county and two subsequent meetings of volunteers who worked to flesh out some of the ideas from the forum.  These goals and objectives that we are suggesting for the City’s revised Comp Plan will provide future justification for rezonings, land use changes, ordinance changes, new city policies or other strategies the city may choose to pursue.  Also note that the normal format for a strategy would be several overarching goals, followed by a series of quantifiable objectives and then actions to achieve each objective.  The city’s Comp Plan in Chapter Thirteen simply lists goals and objectives so we have tried to follow the city’s format.  Please feel free to make suggestions or additions to these ideas.  Original ‘fodder’ from the green building forum is also included as Attachment A.  There may be additional ideas from the forum that could be developed into goals or objectives.  Note that Kristel Riddervold has also reviewed this draft.


The language that follows would become part of Chapter Thirteen of the new Comprehensive Plan that contains strategies for environmental protection.  The referenced programs, such as LEED, would be described in the text of the chapter. Please note that you received the stream protection strategy for this section of the comp plan last fall..  This version includes some additional comments received late Friday May 26.


Green Building Committee Members:

Karen Firehock,

Mike Hancox ,

John Semmelhack,

Katie Swenson,

John Quale,

Veronica Warnock,

Mark Humbertson,

Bill Edgerton, 

Bill Lucy,


Proposed New Language for the 2006 Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan

e, comments added May 30.



Goal A:  Promote the achievement of a 30 percent reduction from current  energy use by businesses and residences through a citywide education, assistance and incentive program.


Objective A1:  Reduce energy use citywide by providing residents and businesses with information about energy efficiency and green building programs and opportunities for energy use reduction, such as Energy Star®, Earth Craft® and LEED through a City web site, web links to other programs and educational workshops and presentations.

Objective A2:  Develop  and continually update case studies of costs and benefits associated with local building projects (e.g. investigate cost savings in lower utility costs from existing Energy Star® and Earth Craft® homes versus a similar conventional homes).  Utilize graduate students or other researchers to conduct this study and to update data about cost savings.


Objective A3:  Create and promote an Ecohoods Program to help neighborhoods and streets become eco-friendly and create an annual awards programs for neighborhoods that achieve the greatest energy use reductions per capita.


Objective A4: Provide free energy audits, design ideas and technical assistance for the general public through a grant funded program or hire new city employee to run program.


Objective A5: Create a technical assistance and green business certification program for businesses that want to reduce energy usage (similar to program in Salt Lake City, Utah).


Objective A6:  Review the standards of learning related to energy conservation (Life Science Standard of Learning 12) and obtain or develop curricula for use in local schools.


Objective A7:  Create and administer a green builder certification program (similar to what has been done in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas).


Goal B: Encourage green building and resource and energy conservation  practices in new and existing buildings through financial incentives.


Objective B1: Consider opportunities for awarding density bonuses for those developers who commit to build LEED silver® or better certified buildings.


Objective B2: Provide tax credits (real estate property tax reductions) for LEED buildings or residential developments equivalent to 125% of the cost of energy efficient additions or renovations.  (similar to current restoration tax credits available to city homeowners).  Review the Austin, Texas model as a program to emulate.


Objective B3: Provide grants for low-income homeowners to replace or add energy efficient features (This program would be in addition to the current City emergency heating insulation assistance program).


Objective B4: Raise development fees to market rates, comparable to surrounding localities to provide a source of funds for administering and promoting green building practices.  Offer present (2005) fee levels to those who use Energy Star® or other suitable energy efficient building plan.



Goal C: Ensure a consistent citywide policy that promotes green building by ensuing that other city regulations, practices and guidelines actively allow for and encourage green building practices. 


Objective C1:  Add guiding principles to the Board of Architectural Review and Entrance Corridor Guidelines that encourage the use of green building practices and energy efficient, recycled-content, and locally harvested or procured materials.


Objective C2:  Amend the PUD ordinance to require that commercial buildings constructed achieve  LEED silver or equivalent guidelines for reductions in energy usage and water conservation and that residential buildings meet Earth Craft (or equivalent).

Objective C3: For Special Use Permits (SUPs) requesting density increases and require that the buildings achieve a LEED silver or better standard. 


Objective C4: For new construction of city buildings, require that LEED certification be attained where feasible (as has been planned for the new city transit center).  For all renovation projects, such as roof replacement, consider retrofitting with green technologies to reduce energy use and stormwater runoff.


Objective C5: Promote and allow the use of grey water instead of tap water for lawn watering and other appropriate uses by residents, businesses and city agencies.  Demonstrate water conservation by installing roof water runoff cisterns for all city park buildings.


Objective C6: Promote graduated water and natural gas rates so that rates increase above a certain level of usage in order to create an incentive to conserve energy and water to  reward those who take steps to conserve (this is known as a fee-bate program).


Goal D:  Prevent excessive resource use through capturing the ‘embodied energy’ of existing buildings via adaptive re-use of existing structures to minimize use of ‘virgin’ resources.


Objective D1:  Develop an inventory of underutilized properties within the city limits (both brownfield and non-brownfield sites) and develop strategies (rezoning, development incentives) that will move these properties back into productive uses that will support increased commercial or residential uses.  Strategies may include creating a scattered sites “Enterprise and Environment Zone” that will target special incentives (property tax reductions, free permits) to these sites..


Objective D2:  Based on the inventory developed in Objective D1: create a coalition of local organizations (i.e. CCDC, PHA, UVA, Habitat) that will collaborate with the City to steward the movement of these properties back into productive and sustainable uses that achieve both “green building” goals and social equity goals.


Objective D3:  Develop special provisions of the City’s building code specially designed for the adaptive reuse of buildings (similar codes have been developed in other cities).  The revised code provisions would allow for special conditions presented by older structures, encourage the retention of existing materials, and reduce any cost disadvantages associated with renovating buildings. 



Attachment A: Ideas from the City Green Building Forum April 2006



-Front of the line building permits for Energy Star construction

-Free building permits for Energy Star construction

-Give faster site plan approval process for green building

-Charlottesville Gas could fund certification costs for Energy Star construction and energy audits for property owners planning to do renovations

-Provide credit or rebate on real estate taxes for green building practices

-Provide tangible incentives for builders and owners, such as tax rebates or tax reductions

-Create dedicated funding source for energy efficiency incentives in annual city budget

-Create policies & incentives that support the incentives in the 2005 Energy Policy Act

-Provide incentives to upgrade existing structures (rebates from Charlottesville Gas, develop micro loan program)

-Rezoning or density allowances for Energy Star construction

-Give density bonus in mixed-use green building projects

-Use similar program as Arlington County to give zoning variances in exchange for green building

-City of Charlottesville should give UVA incentives to establish rigorous green building requirements

-Stormwater utility could give rebates to property owners for LID retrofits such as green roofs, rain gardens, etc.

-Graduated gas rates to encourage conservation and energy efficient construction & renovation

-Provide incentives for LID stormwater treatment

-Restore local property tax credit for qualifying solar equipment

-City involvement in homeowner retrofits (rain barrel program, insulation rebates)

-Non-monetary incentives for start-up only

-Find ways to deter(?) costs to make green building programs more appealing

-Create incentives and awards for water conservation

-Give builder/developer incentives for increased permeable surfaces

-Provide free city transit.

- Provide for cardboard recycling on the downtown mall.





-Mandatory energy standards for city/county joint funded buildings such as firehouses, libraries, etc.

-Make LEED Gold mandatory for all public building projects

-Make public buildings meet green building certification standards

-“Advertise” green building projects in City and CCDC newsletters

-Create green design assistance program: send builders and developers to CCDC for (free?) design input

-Use road, sidewalks, utilities and parks projects to “organize” private development

-Require life cost and first cost for developer advantage

-Make public transit free

-Create education program for realtors & their clients on the benefits of energy efficient and green buildings

-Encourage adaptive re-use of historic buildings

-Encourage developments to tie in to transportation infrastructure

-Mandate infill before green-field development – make developers prove that there is no viable alternative

-Create higher density zoning to get more single family houses per acre



-UVA should require the Virginia Real Estate Foundation to use green design

-Hold a greenest school competition. City could give money to the winning school to do more.

-Get UVA students to create a green building study for Charlottesville & report back to the community

-Use GIS mapping to map “most build able” and “most sensitive” area. Provide incentives/disincentives (fee-bates?) for each type.

-Support training programs for EarthCraft Home builders

-Provide technical assistance for the design of alternative stormwater management systems

-Create a water conserving toilet exchange program

-Create a low polluting lawnmower exchange program

-Encourage transit oriented development

-Create construction & site waste recycling program

-City, County & UVA should get together to establish region-wide green building standards/guidelines

-Give tax credits for green building

-Encourage RWSA to implement alternative wastewater treatment systems & methods

-Collect data (on existing conditions?)

-Encourage/create pedestrian paths that link cul-de-sacs

-Create a local web resource on green building

-On City utility bills (water & gas), show cost per square foot, and comparisons or benchmarks, so customers can see how their building’s performance compares

-Ask the EarthCraft Homes pilot builders and home-buyers report their experiences (successes & obstacles)

-Educate city decision makers, such as facilities management and city council on the benefits of green building

-Create a micro-loan program for energy efficiency renovations

-Evaluate the extra cost to build green on the basis of how much it costs the city to borrow money

-Pilot programs in K-12, university & local/state government

-Schools should be green energy production centers

-Create a unified transportation network – UTS, CTS & Streetcar

-Give LID training to city staff and developers

-Put Bill Edgerton in charge!

-Establish an “Architect of the City/County” position

-Establish an Office of Sustainability

-Share ideas via an Office of Sustainability – possibly within the TJPDC?

-City & County should jointly produce a green building technology and how-to manual

-Create a “Green Star” local certification program for buildings

-Hold a green building competition

-Provide Energy Star training for architects and Class A contractors

-Develop a builder training program

-Provide simple, clear references for architects, builders, citizens and policy makers to utilize for designing, building and evaluating projects.

-Have an “easy click” link to practical green building advice on local government websites

-Create window stickers on houses (similar to cars’ MPG) for energy per square foot.

-Phase in the replacement of the existing sewage treatment plant with a Living Machine

-Subsidize Energy Audits

-Pay for Energy Audits

-Create a permeable paving demo project

-Create house orientation recommendations for passive solar design

-Enhance stormwater management and regulation

-Let citizens know what small changes they can make

-Encourage citizen action and advocation for green building

-Continue to educate and encourage the public regarding green building

-Educate the public that energy efficiency improves the affordability of homes

-More consumer education for green building practices

-Establish energy efficient design guidelines

-Create a drywall recycling program

-Establish a city adopted green building rating system

-UVA should commit to a demonstration green building project

-UVA should commit to LEED Silver

-Need to establish green building principles early in the design process





-Mandatory Energy Star certification for any rezoning or special use permits requesting 15 residential units or more.

-Require & maintain the 60’ & 100’ stream buffer policies

-Require infiltration for stormwater management

-Require all proffers from developers to contribute to the public infrastructure

-Create ridge-top protection codes

-Establish forest protection codes

-Establish stream protection codes

-Make the local building energy code more strict

-Require recycling of construction waste

-Integrate green building principles into zoning and design guidelines

-Require Energy Star certification for new construction and renovation

-Mandate Energy Star for new construction and renovation

-Mandate durable construction, i.e. homes that last 200+ years



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