Guide to the Second Public Comment Draft of LEED-ND
Smart Location and LinkageSmart Locations, P1
Wetland and Water Body Conservation, P3
Agricultural Land Conservation, P4
Neighborhood Pattern and DesignWalkable Streets, P1
Compact Development, P2
Connected and Open Community, P3
Mixed-Use Neighborhood Centers, C3
Visitability and Universal Design, C11
LEED-ND Rating SystemSecond Public Comment Draft
LEED-ND still measures connectivity by the number of intersections per square mile, but the specific requirements were streamlined and the language is now more concise. The current description now reads as follows:
The number of publicly accessible street intersections per square mile, including intersections of streets with dedicated alleys, and intersections of streets with non-motorized rights-of-way (up to 10% of total intersections).If one must both enter and exit an area through the same intersection, such an intersection and any intersections beyond that point are not counted; intersections leading only to culs-de-sac are not counted. The square mileage shall exclude water bodies, parks over a 1/2-acre, public facility campuses, airports, rail yards, slopes over 15%, and areas non-buildable under codified law or the rating system. Intersections of streets with dedicated transit rights-of-way are counted.
Connectivity is used internally and externally a number of times throughout the rating system:
LEED-ND has updated each of these definitions. The adjacent definition now includes a greenway corridor provision, the previously developed definition has been clarified to the development footprint for lots over one acre, and the infill definition now includes a compliance path for sites where the surrounding land meets specific street connectivity levels. Here are the current definitions:
These definitions impact a large number of prerequisites and credits, including:
Wetland and Waterbody Conservation, SLL p4;
Agricultural Land Conservation, SLL p5;
Floodplain Avoidance, SLL p6;
Preferred Locations, SLL c1;
Housing and Jobs Proximity, SLL c5;
Steep Slope Protection, SLL c6; and
Site Design for Habitat or Wetland Conservation, SLL c7.
This prerequisite has undergone a number of changes based on the first round of public comments. It was combined with SLL p2 which covered proximity to water and wastewater infrastructure. Projects must locate the project on a site already served with publicly-owned water and wastewater infrastructure or within a legally adopted, publicly-owned planned infrastructure service area. Then there are four compliance paths--down from five in the early draft--infill sites, adjacent sites with connectivity, transit corridors with adequate transit service, and sites with nearby neighborhood assets. Each of these options have been significantly updated, especially Option 3 on transit corridors based on feedback from APTA and Reconnecting America.
This prerequisite underwent a number of revisions which clarified it's relationship with federal, state, and local laws, distinguished between the wetland or waterbody and the buffer area of a wetland or waterbody, and added further definition to what can take place within buffer areas. The prerequisite provides two compliance paths, down from three in the previous draft. The first option is to locate the project so that there are no wetlands, waterbodies or buffer areas to wetlands or waterbodes within the site boundaries. The second option is for projects with wetlands, waterbodies or buffer areas and allows a specific percentage of land to be impacted based on the residential and non-residential density as long as one point is earned under Stormwater Management, GIB C7. The relationship between the degree of impacts within a buffer area and the level of residential and non-residential density was fine-tuned for this draft and now allows projects to use a variable buffer width, with a minimum width, to allow for more design flexibility.
For all projects, further definition was added to what is considered a wetland, waterbody, or buffer land that must be protected for the purposes of this prerequisite. And the list of minor improvements permitted within the buffer areas was revised to allow for wider bicycle and pedestrian pathways, more clarification on small clearings and structures, and the addition of brownfield remediation activities. Direct impact to wetlands and waterbodies themselves is limited to minimal structures that allow educational and recreational access.
The intent of this prerequisite now emphasizes the importance of preserving irreplaceable agricultural resources by protecting prime and unique farm and forest lands from development. Five compliance paths still remain--locate the project in one of 4 areas: a site with no prime or unique soils, an infill site, a site served by transit (with requirements consistent with SLL P1 option 3), a site within a development rights receiving area, or mitigate the loss of prime or unique soils, increase development density or a combination of mitigation and increased density. The fifth option represents the largest change to this prerequisite. Originally designed to accommodate those areas of the country with a large amount of prime soils, this option now applies to all sites with prime or unique soils.
For projects where only option 5 applies, they will need to either build more densely than the ND minimum threshold of 7 du/acre or mitigate, via the purchase of conservation easements off-site, or a combination of the two. The requirements were tailored for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) above and below 250,000 people in recognition of different market demands. In MSAs with greater than 250,000 people, projects with residential densities above 13 dwelling units per acre (du/a) and non-residential densities above 1.0 FAR are not required to purchase conservation easements. In MSAs with less than 250,000 people, projects with residential densities above 10 du/a and non-residential densities above 0.75 FAR are not required to purchase conservation easements. The mitigation requirement increases for projects that are less and less dense. For projects with low residential densities just above 7 du/a and non-residential densities just above 0.5 FAR, conservation easements must be purchased for two acres for every one acre of prime soil developed. All off-site mitigation needs to be located within 100 miles of the project and up to 15% of the land with prime soils can be dedicated to community gardens and exempted from the density requirements as well as count towards any mitigation requirement.
This relatively new prerequisite was revised based on a number of new urbanist suggestions. There were slight revisions to the three existing requirements that principal building entries to face public spaces like streets and plazas-not parking lots, minimum building-height-to-street-width-ratios of 1:3, continuous sidewalks on both sides of 90% of the streets within a project. A fourth requirement was added that prevents garage openings and service bays from dominating street frontages--a great catch by the commentors. The prerequisite continues to make exemptions for designated historic districts.
This prerequisite continues to recognize the inherent connection between density and transit performance. In the previous draft, the density threshold for projects meeting specific transit service levels was bumped up to 12 du/a and 0.80 FAR. The section was revised so that projects with significant transit service only have to meet the higher density threshold within the specified walk distance of transit. The lower threshold of 7 du/a and 0.50 FAR applies outside the walk distance area. This helps larger projects where not all of the development is within walking distance of transit. For all other projects, the density minimum remains at 7 du/a and 0.50 FAR.
The requirements for meeting this prerequisite were slightly revised based on the comments. The internal street connectivity requirement was reduced from 150 to 140 intersections/sq. mi. All projects must still have at least one through-street intersecting, or terminating at, the project boundary every 800 feet, or at existing abutting street intervals and intersections, whichever is the shorter distance. There were a fair amount of comments supporting a longer or shorter through-street requirement. Based on the middle ground 800 feet seemed to represent, it was kept as the minimum and allows NPD c 6: Street Network to showcase those projects that achieve higher through-street levels. Non-motorized rights-of-way can count for no more than 20% of the total, up from the previous 10%. The requirements for projects without internal streets remain the same--the surrounding area, within a 1/4-mile distance of project boundary, must have at least 90 intersections/sq. mi.
This credit used to be titled Diversity of Uses and has been renamed to emphasize the intent of creating neighborhood and regional centers that encourage walking, biking, transit use as well as VMT reduction, automobile dependence and car free living. The credit was expanded to allow a compliance path for projects with no dwelling units. The list of diverse uses has been revised to reflect current market thinking in terms of the uses and services needed to fulfill the daily needs of occupants. It is now organized into four main categories, community-serving retail, services, civic/community facilities, and food retail.
In order to satisfy this credit, all projects must have 50% of the dwelling units within a 1/4-mile walk distance of a specified number of diverse uses with at least one use from each of the four diverse use categories. The more uses available at specific occupancy levels, the more credits awarded. This is a revision from the previous version which emphasized the proportion of a project's residential component within a 1/2-mile walk distance with attention paid to the vehicle speeds at any of the street intersections along the route. Projects with no dwellings are now allowed to utilize this credit as long as 50% of the dwelling units within a 1/4-mile of the project boundary are also within a 1/4-mile walk distance of a specified number of diverse uses, including a food retail use and at least one use from each of two other diverse use categories.
The credit continues to place a distinction on neighborhood-scale projects and regional-scale retail centers. Neighborhood-scale projects are defined as projects with 40 acres or greater and regional-scale retail centers are now defined as those with retail of 150,000 square feet or more. In order to satisfy the credit, diverse uses must be clustered in the neighborhood center and the principle entries must be within a 300-foot or 400-foot walk distance from a single common point. For regional-scale retail centers, projects with 150,000 square feet of retail and at least one retail establishment totaling 75,000 or more square feet must also earn a minimum of one point for Reduced Automobile Dependence, SLL C 3 under Option 1: Transit-Served Location. Planned transit service can be counted and for every additional 50,000 ft of retail above 150,000 square feet, an additional point must be earned in SLLc3.
This credit used to be titled Universal Accessibility and has been renamed to emphasize the updated focus on visitability. There are two compliance paths to achieve this optional credit. Option 1 requires projects with residential dwelling units to meet certain levels of performance based on the residential building typologies. For single-dwelling unit buildings and multi-unit building with two or three dwelling units, a minimum of 20% of the dwelling units must be designed in accordance with ICC.ANSI A117.1, Type C: Visitable Unit. For multi-unit buildings with four or more dwelling units, a minimum of 20% of the dwelling units must be designed to incorporate universal design requirements. The rating system provides three different universal design strategies with a combination of different design features to choose from.
Option 2 allows a compliance path for projects with no residential components and non-compliant public rights-of-way or other publicly-accessible travel routes with regards to the American Disabilities Act (ADA) or the American Barriers Act (ABA). It requires that the project design, construct, and/or retrofit 100% of the rights-of-way and/or travel routes in accordance with the ADA-ABA Accessibility guidelines.