San Antonio River Basin LID Technical Guidance Manual

March 24, 2016 by Russell Yeager

In May 2015, the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) submitted amendments to the Unified Development Code to add Low Impact Development (LID) as a voluntary site design option, as well as updates to the existing Conservation Subdivision regulations. As a result, City Council amended the Unified Development Code to adopt provisions for low impact development. The LID amendments went into effect February 18, 2016.

Low-impact development is a term used to describe a land planning and engineering design approach to manage stormwater runoff. LID emphasizes conservation and use of on-site, natural features to protect water quality focusing on water as a natural amenity instead of locating drainage in concrete surfaces or underground. These updated LID characteristics have been focused on by SARA and the City to provide incentives to developers to seek more opportunities for this type of development.

Photo courtesy of Low Impact Development Center, Inc. This includes and
Photo courtesy of Low Impact Development Center, Inc. This includes and

The new San Antonio River Basin LID Technical Guidance Manual provides site design principles to identify protected areas and minimize impacts to existing vegetation, high-value soils, geology, and habitat. For LID planning, the team (owner, architect, engineer, etc.) begins the process with a site analysis to determine which protected features exist on the site and the optimal preservation or enhancement.

We’ll be breaking down the manual for you over a series of blog entries. To get us started, here are some of the additions our San Antonio team found to be notable and helpful:

  • Minimum Water Quality Volume Requirements. In order to be considered an LID plan and be eligible for incentives, a minimum of sixty (60) percent of the required water quality volume resulting from the increase in impervious area for the entire site, including all of the parking and street areas, must be managed to meet the Performance Standards in subsection 35-210 (g)(2).
  • Fee-Based Incentives: The applicant managing a minimum of sixty (60) percent of the Water Quality Volume for the project site shall receive credit and offset incentives for LID.
  • Single Family Lots: A single family residential lot, not part of a larger development, is eligible to submit a simplified stormwater management plan.
  • Preliminary Site Design Review Meeting: The San Antonio River Authority is available free of charge to meet with owner’s or their design team including engineer, architect and landscape architect before, during, or after the Development Services Department’s Preliminary Plan Review meeting or as needed any time during the development design process.

You can find the entire LID Manual on the City’s website.

If you have any questions about the amendments, please feel free to give us a call at 210.860.9224, and keep checking back on the BIG RED blog for continued updates and breakdowns.

Written by Russell Yeager

Russell Yeager

As Market Director for our Commercial Services practice, Russell Yeager is responsible for managing our Raving Fans and prospective clients, overseeing the performance of our project design teams, steering our brand marketing strategy, and spearheading our community outreach and volunteer efforts. Russell is a proud University of Texas graduate – Hook ‘Em! He and his wife Jordan live in Northwest San Antonio.