Mayor Turner Announces Incentives for Green Development Launch
August 4, 2021 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City of Houston are proud to announce the formal creation of both the Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Awards and Recognition and the Expedited Permitting Pilot programs. The creation of these programs is only the latest step in the City of Houston’s aims to encourage “green” development as per the Houston Incentives for Green Development, part of the larger Resilient Houston city-wide strategy.
Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Awards and Recognition
The GSI Awards & Recognition Program, led by the Mayor’s Office and the Green Building Resource Center, recognizes new green development and redevelopment projects and promote their successes. The Program is intended to recognize some of the most effective and exemplary of “green” building in Houston and encourage more development projects to adopt resilient measures. It sets a format for evaluating projects through an evaluation committee comprised of partners in the resilience and conservation space, and includes specific criteria on which the developments are to be judged, including but not limited to “location and impact to adjacent communities”, “proposed maintenance plans” and “efforts for conservation, preservation or incorporation of native flora.”
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Expedited Permitting Pilot Program
The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Expedited Permitting Pilot Program, led by the Mayor’s Office and the Houston Permitting Center, seeks to promote and the creation and continuation of resilience-oriented development projects in the greater Houston area. It aims to pilot a minimum of 10 projects by August 2022, assisting through consolidating and expediting the permitting process for the development projects that it pilots.
Through this pilot program, the City will work with developers to test, evaluate and formalize the process steps necessary for an expedited review of projects that include nature-based solutions.
“We are futureproofing our city,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The creation of the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Awards and the Expedited Permitting Pilot programs set the precedent of recognizing and supporting the developments that have already adopted GSI and resilient measures, and will encourage more to do so in the future.”
While these are some of the final steps in the Houston Incentives for Green Development, the City’s efforts to achieve the goals set out in Resilient Houston – 100 GSI projects by 2025 - are ever-continuing.
The City will now work to implement the final incentive – creating an integrated set of rules and regulations for GSI. The Mayor launched the GSI tax abatement program in December of 2020.
To apply visit www.houstontx.gov/igd, where applications and additional information for each program can be obtained.
Through funding from Houston Endowment, the City’s Chief Recovery Office commissioned a one-year study to identify and recommend incentives to encourage the use of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in private land development, leading to economic, social, and environmental benefits as well as resilience. The Incentives for Green Development Report and Recommendations were released in August 2019.
Green infrastructure strives to mimic how rain falls on undeveloped, green landscape while minimizing the impact of development. Typical design elements include green roofs, rain garden bio-retention systems, permeable pavements, rainwater harvesting, urban forests, constructed wetlands and other strategies to manage rainwater. Green stormwater infrastructure improves the performance of drainage systems and can make real estate projects safer and more attractive to buyers, while providing a wide array of benefits including heat reduction, air and water quality improvement, conservation of native habitats, and improvement of quality of life among others.
For more information and to download program details, visit www.houstontx.gov/igd or contact the City’s Chief Resilience Officer www.houstontx.gov/mayor/chief-resilience-officer.html.