Council members seek more incentives for green building

Two members of City Council have introduced legislation that would provide height and density bonuses for developers who design buildings to meet certain environmental and energy benchmarks.

The bill, introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and co-sponsored by Councilman Mark Squilla, would allow additional height and floor area in projects that receive LEED Silver certification. The zoning code already provides bonuses for certain projects that are certified LEED Gold and LEED Platinum, the two highest rankings.

The legislation sponspored by Reynolds Brown and Squilla would allow an additional 12 feet of building height to LEED Silver projects in the Central Delaware Overlay district. LEED Gold buildings in that area can currently earn an additional 24 feet of height, and LEED Platinum buildings can earn up to 36 additional feet.

The bill would also allow an additional 25 percent floor-area bonus in lots zoned CMX-3 that fall within Transit Oriented Development Districts, which have yet to be added to the city’s zoning maps. It would give a 50-percent floor-area bonus to buildings in CMX-4 zones, and a 100-percent bonus to buildings in CMX-5 zones, the most permissive commercial districts in the city.

“We are serious about achieving Mayor Nutter’s goal of becoming the Greenest City in America, and therefore are consistently on the lookout for new, innovative ways to incentivize going green,” said Councilwoman Reynold Brown, in a statement. “Developers are always in search of more space and we as a City Council are interested in seeing environmentally responsible and sustainable construction, so this is a win-win scenario for both parties.”

Developers can earn points toward LEED certification for building near transportation infrastructure, including bicycle parking and reducing automobile parking, and using energy and water efficiently. LEED Silver projects earn 50-59 points. Project must earn at least 40 points to be LEED Certified.

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