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Town holds LEEDS workshop May 18

Members of Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Municipal Planning Commission heard a presentation from representatives of Oliver Smith Realty and Development, Structure Technology Inc. and The Rabco Corporation on the virtues of green building Monday, May 18, at Town Hall.

The meeting was a workshop intended to educate Town officials on the requirements and benefits of LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — constructed buildings.

Oliver Smith, of Oliver Smith Realty, and his business partner Raj Sood, are interested in building a LEED-certified building that would house Farragut Boat & R/V Storage off Concord Road, close to First Utility District’s sewage treatment facility.

Smith and Sood brought in Dave Collins, one of the state’s few LEED-accredited architects, to present LEED information to the Town.

“LEED is smart for communities in a lot of ways, particularly from a planning standpoint. The way ordinances have been written, they all sort of follow the same model over the last 40 to 50 years and that model has led to the type of development that you see along Kingston Pike that we, as people living in the community, are not really that excited about.

“LEED sort of embraces a new way of thinking and embraces principles of development of design that I think we all instinctively know is the right way and the smart way to design buildings and developments,” Collins said.

In order to be LEED certified, a building must meet certain criteria in the following categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process.

According to Collins, LEED-certified buildings use key resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings, which are simply built to code.

Alderman John Williams asked about additional staff requirements and cost and Collins was quick to point out that there would be no additional burden on the Town, staff- or money-wise, with a LEED-certified project.

“If you want to be seen as a forward thinking community and a progressive community when it comes to this area of sustainable design and sustainable development, I think embracing LEED as a concept, or how you can, as a Town, ‘incentivize,’ this type of development in your town, I think this is something you should think strongly about,” Collins said.

Collins added that, in some instances, green building requires planning commissions to think a little “outside the box.”

“On occasion there are some sort of innovative strategies related to sustainable design that run a little bit contrary to the standard convention with respect to how we have always thought about how you design a site and design a building.

“If this project heads that way, we may ask you all, as a Town, to accept things that you wouldn’t normally accept. That is part of why we are here — sometimes it requires some out-of-the-box thinking,” he said.

Bob Hill, FMPC chair, wanted to make sure no Town codes would be violated.

“Out-of-the-box thinking requires thinking outside of the code. And this Town lives and dies by the code. This design, is it fully compliant with the building code in its current state? So why would you want anything from the Town with regard to building this building? I am trying to grasp why you are here.”

Emmett Owens, a representative of The Rabco Corporation, said, “It is a very broad, broad concept and what we hope to do is educate the people in this room to green building and the process and take from that and relate it to a particular project that Oliver brought us here to discuss.

“There are no plans or anything else. We are not asking for approvals or variances. We are trying to relate it to a real-world situation that may come to your attention in the future,” he added.

Mayor Ralph McGill said the workshop was just that — a workshop.

“This was never set up as any deliberation or anything. It was just about information ex-change,” he said.

McGill added that at some point in the future, the Town might have to look at passing some special ordinances for green building concepts.


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