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FBI Development at Greenbelt: The Question on Environmental Impact

I’ve received a few questions from residents with concerns of the proposed development’s impact on the surrounding area, particularly With respect to the effect of the proposed stormwater management facilities on flooding along the rest of Indian Creek watershed.

I contacted the project’s developer on these concerns. He argues that the impact from the project will “definitely be beneficial”.

According to him, current stormwater management facilities at Greenbelt do little to mitigate the quantity or quality of stormwater generated during rain events (quantity being the key concern for flooding).

The developer has included the cost of Contech Stormfilter system in the budget for the overall development to control both quantity and quality. The other system that the developer is looking at was the Jellyfish system. It is similar in terms of function and cost.

With respect to the GSA site, the developer thinks GSA controls site specifications for stormwater control, and thus under Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), federal agencies are required to reduce stormwater runoff from federal development and redevelopment projects to protect water resources. Federal agencies can comply using a variety of “green infrastructure” or “low impact development” stormwater management practices, including reducing impervious surfaces and using vegetative practices, porous pavements, cisterns and green roofs. The requirement is to use all practical means to reduce or eliminate stormwater runoff.

The developer is expected to come to City Council and the neighborhood association meeting to update residents and the Council with these ideas and take questions. I will let you know once that happens.

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1 Comment to “FBI Development at Greenbelt: The Question on Environmental Impact”

  1. By Bill Smith, October 29, 2014 @ 9:06 am

    Ah, developer ‘happy talk’.

    To some extent the developer is correct but there are large ‘holes’ in what he is saying. First of all he is piecemealing you. The FBI is not the entire development. Whatever the GSA says and does on the portion that would be the FBI will not extend to the rest of the development.

    Sketches of the rest of the development clearly show impacts on the stream and wetlands area of Narragansett Run to the east of the CSX tracks. This area is currently pretty much undisturbed – alas, the opposite case is true on the west side of the CSX tracks. Some plans show they both want to bridge and move the run from its current position.
    Back to the FBI development, given the FBI’s security concerns they will end up fencing the perimeter of the security area. Security will also require some sort of perimeter road to keep eye on and maintain the fence. Unless they are going to cut down all the trees around it, they are going to be out there from time to time removing trees that fall on the fence. Given the fence will go thru a wetlands area this is going to be happening more than if it didn’t. The way the security area crosses Indian Creek (twice) will also be a mess. Trees and many other pieces of trash float down that stream – particularly during and after a rain event. They are going to have to deal with that in some way and the infrastructure to do that is not going to be minor if they fence the creek. Crap piling up behind that will lead to flooding.

    In summary, the developer stands to make millions on this project and that certainly influences what he says and does. But it is the developers property so drive the hardest bargain you can on these issues, get it in writing, and get the developer post a substantial standalone (on these issues) bond that won’t be released until a third party matches the promises to the completed work.