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Green building incentives

Marc Lefkowitz  |  11/17/08 @ 3:47pm

As the city of Cleveland moves ahead with plans to introduce green building at a neighborhood scale ? the Planning Commission is set to review green design guidelines on December 5-we look back at how other cities are building the case for green building. Pittsburgh, for example, carved out a space for its riverfront trail network with its green design guidelines (the city also grants a density bonus to developments in the Local Neighborhood Commercial zoning overlay district if they get LEED-certification).

Would adding more floors sweeten the pot for developers in Cleveland? Cleveland Planning Director Bob Brown doesn't think so. "When a developer has wanted to build to a greater density in Cleveland, we've been more than willing to grant any necessary variances or rezonings, except where there was neighborhood opposition to the higher density."

When pressed to think about what would tempt a developer to build green in Cleveland, Brown answered:

"The City already does have a financial incentive for green building with respect to housing, and Mayor Jackson in the past proposed tying a certain percentage of tax abatements to green building.

"Probably an incentive that would work best would be some up-front subsidy to defray the additional costs for green building."

Where applied, Cleveland's green design guidelines will:

  • Influence how developments handle stormwater with native plants
  • Restrict gated communities
  • Require 'walkable streets'
  • Offer secure bicycle parking
  • Require high efficiency street lights
  • Encourage the market for recycled materials and the science of green urbanism

To which features in the guidelines would you tie the city's limited resources/incentives? Read the draft of Cleveland's Design Guidelines.


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