Integrating Stormwater Regulation and Urban Design

Zoning Practice — November 2006

By Lisa Nisenson


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Every once in a while, groundbreaking events in land use are not heralded by headlines, but rather are contained in the tiny font the U.S. government's Federal Register. On December 9, 1999, one such final notice was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the vernacular of water engineers under the heading "Stormwater."

The EPA regulation contained two curious clauses that are as much land use as they are water quality. First, the notice directed over 5,000 cities across the country to consider for the first time "post-construction" stormwater control. More importantly, the notice instructed that these new post-construction rules be implemented "by ordinance or other regulatory mechanism" (i.e., zoning and land development regulations).

This issue of Zoning Practice explains new federal requirements for stormwater management and offers some words of caution about the potential unintended results of merging land-use and water regulations.


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Date Published
Nov. 1, 2006
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Lisa Nisenson