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Thread: Grasspaver, pervious paving for required parking in zoning ordinances

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    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Grasspaver, pervious paving for required parking in zoning ordinances

    Does anyone have an example of a zoning ordinance section that permits Grasspaver2 or other pervious parking lot paving for required parking?

    Our ordinance currently requires "asphaltic or concretic" paving on required parking spaces. There is a desire to allow grasspaver or similar pervious systems. Any good or bad experiences with pervious paving?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ecofem's avatar
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    Ours is sufficiently vague enough to allow it.

    In fact, it allows gravel to be included as pervious.

    However, our Code is such a piece... I would never recommend it as an example to replicate!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Take a look at porous pavement - see Bruce Ferguson's book on the subject. It's a cementious system that is still porous. Depending on how your ordinance is written it might meet the requirements.

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    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Also consider that handicap access spaces must have "smooth" surfaces to negotiate travel by most wheelchairs.

    Also, what would the transition material and requirements be from property line to public pavement? Relatively rapid decelleration and turning at the same time at a vehicle entry can "move" or dislodge some loose fitting pavements. Will this be a city maintenance problem?

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    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    The porus concrete and ashphalts have a tendancy to clog with fines unless your maintenance is diligent and thorough in their maintenance duties. GrassPavers 2 wouldn't or should be used in a ADA course of travel within a urban context/high use area. Usally you are allow up 1/2" in material diffrentiated heights and still meet ada. It is a bit rough and not recommended and should not be used except for where the paving abuts planting areas and treewells as there always seems to be material displacement there especially here in ca.

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by munibulldog View post
    Any good or bad experiences with pervious paving?
    A regional environmental group is currently trying out a small test area of Flexi-Pave in their parking lot. If it holds up well to winter use and maintenance (i.e. snow and ice removal), they may start advocating it's use within our watershed.

    After having seen a demonstration of the product, it's definately porous. I think our staff was in agreement that we would consider flat to moderately sloping surfaces covered with the product as being 100% permeable, but we had stormwater management and soil erosion control concerns about applications on steep slopes. The local sales reps for the product were going to send some additional testing data to our municipal engineer for review.
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    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    What kind of system are you requiring to catch, collect, and dispose of all the heavy metals and petroleum products that wash off the car and onto the ground? That is the one drawback I see to pervious pavement. Might be ok for low intensity residential, but I couldn't see using it for commercial projects.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

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    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    catch, collect, and dispose of all the heavy metals and petroleum products that wash off the car and onto the ground?
    Its better that they seep into the ground rather than flow into water bodies where they can do more harm. Some soils have naturally occurring microbes that break down petroleum products. But yes, in porous soils with high water tables, pollutants can get into the groundwater. One of the things porous pavements are supposed to prevent is lowering of water tables due to prevention of infiltration. In many metro areas, water tables have dropped due to so much of the land being covered with roofs and pavements.
    I recall reading about a study that found porosity in the types that use a lattice of concrete blocks and gravel tends to decrease over the years as the gravel gets filled in with fines. They recommended replacing the gravel after a number of years. I don't see that as highly likely for most users.
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    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    It is not really better if those toxis seep into your groundwater table, is it. Yes if the amount and rate where manage to the substrata depending on the toxin it might be able to transfix by the soil microbes.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Well, here is the first draft.

    This zoning ordinance section applies to required parking areas:

    8. The entire parking area, including parking spaces and aisle widths required under this Section, shall be provided with asphalt, concrete or Grasspaver2 (or the equivalent) surfacing or as otherwise permitted in this Section in accordance with specifications approved by the City Engineer.

    a. Boat storage yards may either be asphalt, concrete, grassphalt, or crushed stone/gravel whichever, in the discretion of the Zoning Administrator, is likely to reasonably result in a surface that poses few if any nuisances for adjacent homes and businesses.

    b. All parking stalls and pavement shall be striped, marked or otherwise delineated, using the same as pattern as shown on the approved site plan. The outside edge of the parking area shall be delineated in a way to deter drivers from driving on non-paved areas.

    c. Off-street parking areas shall be drained so as to dispose of all surface water accumulated in the parking area in such a way as to preclude drainage of water onto adjacent property or toward buildings. Drainage Plans are to be approved by the City Engineer.

    d. Pervious paving of required parking areas is encouraged. Examples of pervious paving include pervious asphalt, brick or concrete pavers set in an aggregate base, Grasspaver2 or the equivalent.
    The Planning Commission decided to go with permitting 100% grasspaver2 type paving. Now we get to see what the City Council does with the amendment.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    You might also want to include something about ensuring that the subsurface soils that the pervious pavement drains into does not cause problems when watterlogged, such as a high shrink/swell potential or load bearing capacities becoming altered.
    Precast concrete bumber blocks may serve adequately in some parking situations for delineating spaces.
    For item "c", I think it would be more correct if it read "...parking areas shall be graded to drain all surface water..."
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Here is the approved version:

    8. The entire parking area, including parking spaces and aisle widths required under this Section, shall be provided with asphalt, concrete or grass paver (or the equivalent) surfacing or as otherwise permitted in this Section in accordance with specifications approved by the City Engineer. The use of recycled products will be encouraged.

    a. Boat storage yards may either be asphaltic, concrete, grassphalt, or crushed stone/gravel whichever, in the discretion of the City Engineer, is likely to reasonably result in a surface that poses few if any nuisances for adjacent homes and businesses.

    b. All parking stalls and pavement shall be striped, marked or otherwise delineated, using the same pattern as shown on the approved site plan. The outside edge of the parking area shall be delineated in a way to deter drivers from driving on non-paved areas.

    c. Off-street parking areas shall be drained so as to dispose of all surface water accumulated in the parking area in such a way as to preclude drainage of water onto adjacent property or toward buildings. Drainage Plans are to be approved by the City Engineer.

    d. Pervious paving of required parking areas is encouraged. Examples of pervious paving include pervious asphalt, brick or concrete pavers set in an aggregate base, grass paver or the equivalent.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Plan 9 View post
    What kind of system are you requiring to catch, collect, and dispose of all the heavy metals and petroleum products that wash off the car and onto the ground? That is the one drawback I see to pervious pavement. Might be ok for low intensity residential, but I couldn't see using it for commercial projects.
    I would echo what craines said and add that all of this runoff material is presumably still going somewhere through the storm sewer system. In fact, collecting it from many streets potentially increases concentrations and negative impacts once it reaches its destination. Depending on the situation, local permeation at a variety of sites may have a less detrimental impact than washing it into the sewers. In our downtown, storm sewers drain directly into the Rio Grande, the primary drinking water and agricultural water source for most of the state.

    As for the grass pavers, a friend showed me some wonderful photos a few years back of its use in Germany. The example I saw was in the parking lot of an historic church. In the parking areas, they alternated non-grass pavers (the same pavers turned to one side to create a hard surface, though there is still permeation at the joints) and grass pavers (where grass is allowed to grow up thriough the holes in pavers). This was the only demarcation between individual parking spaces and it looked very cool - organic, subtle, and provided a nice, neutral "ground" against the magnificent cathedral. As a popular historic site, I am sure they had plenty of traffic, but it did not seem adversely impacted. Sorry I don't have access to these images. They sound like just what is being discussed.
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    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    I am hoping the developers step up and start building pervious paving into their designs.

    Our town has always been a curb and gutter type town, where asphalt or concrete were the only permitted types of driveway or parking area. Gravel drives and parking lots are prohibited. Visually concrete and asphalt look better than gravel, I suppose. If there is an objection to pervious paving (when and if it is actually built) it will probably be an objection to the visual aspect. There will be people who think there is something "wrong" with cars driving on grass.

    The town is drained by a number of streams running through ravines. We tend to get heavy flow in the streams during rain events and then they almost dry up in dry spells. Hopefully if a good amount of the acreage of asphalt and concrete parking lots are replaced with pervious paving, this will put more water into the ground water table and even out the flow of the streams.

    The funny thing is that gravel drives and parking lots have always been "pervious paving" so really we are not doing anything new and dramatic here. We could have had the same effect by allowing gravel parking which is also pervious and much cheaper than asphalt or concrete (or grass paving!).

    But even when put into perspective this is a step forward for Low Impact Development. It will be interesting to see how the experiment works out.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Pervious does not allway equal better. In areas that need to provide irrigation water and can use small irrigation "ponds" to good advantage (golf courses, some park areas, etc) lined ponds that collect stormwater and store it for use as irrigation can reduce groundwater withdraw for irrigation by a significant amount. Sometimes the stormwater runoff is mixed with wastewater (treated to human contact standards).

    When held in the ponds, much of the solids sink to the bottom and do not enter the aquifer. Running water through a healthy layer of sod as a very effective clean-up option. Not only biological action, but ion binding takes place.

    The Villages development (at buildout almost 50,000 du and many thousands of acres) uses this tecnique to great advantage. The ponds look great, support a healthy environment, and reduce groundwater withdrawal. Often see many water birds feeding in them. Look at their website. Every water feature except the big lakes are designed this way. Os obviously there it is a good idea to minimize pervious pavement. Not saying pavement should be maximized, but somtimes it makes sense to collect all the water from the pavement that you have to have anyway.

    We have a few areas of grass pavers here. They are used for overflow parking and appear to work well. I understand that they are hell on high heels. however.

    Lined ponds are expensive,

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    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by munibulldog View post
    Does anyone have an example of a zoning ordinance section that permits Grasspaver2 or other pervious parking lot paving for required parking?
    I am currently writing a new zoning ordinance in my city and am providing flexibility to allow alternative surfaces, such as Grasspave2. I have also include a caveat that says the surface should be suitable for the intended use. So it might be suitable for low intensity, low use parking areas, but probably not for parking at a grocery store or other high intensity type use. The planning department will make this determination as to whether alternative surfaces will be appropriate in relation to the use, to which the applicant will always have the opportunity for appeal.
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    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by munibulldog View post
    Does anyone have an example of a zoning ordinance section that permits Grasspaver2 or other pervious parking lot paving for required parking?
    I am currently writing a new zoning ordinance in my city and am providing flexibility to allow alternative surfaces, such as Grasspave2. I have also included a caveat that says the surface should be suitable for the intended use. So it might be suitable for low intensity, low use parking areas, but probably not for parking at a grocery store or other high intensity type use. The planning department will make this determination as to whether alternative surfaces will be appropriate in relation to the use, to which the applicant will always have the opportunity for appeal.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
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