Salem, New Hampshire

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Field Evaluation: SLI Consulting: Braemoor Woods, Salem, NH

Project Summary

Low Impact Development (LID) is an approach to land development that uses various land planning and design practices and technologies to simultaneously conserve and protect natural resource systems and reduce infrastructure costs. LID allows land to be developed, but in a cost-effective manner that helps mitigate potential environmental impacts. Under the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), the NAHB Research Center is working with Steve Lewis, SLI Consulting to design, implement, and evaluate performance and costs of several LID technologies at this Field Evaluation site in Salem, NH.

SLI Consulting plans to create a community that offers a mix of townhouses for residents 50 and older, apartments for the elderly, and affordable housing. Overall, the initial plan is to preserve 50% of the land and to create a compact development in that each type of housing unit is clustered in its own neighborhoods, sometimes separated by stands of trees.

There are examples of low impact residential developments that were built at a reduced cost when compared to conventional developments. The cost difference often comes primarily from reduced infrastructure costs and from increased income from additional lots allowed through bonus densities. We will work with SLI Consulting to determine if such cost savings can be realized in Salem, NH.

In addition, public officials are especially interested in determining how LID technologies perform in the long-term. They want to know if there will be increased demand on county staff for operations and maintenance issues associated with the LID technologies. Another set of data they would like to obtain is the ability of the LID technologies to further reduce pollution leaving the site and the ability to keep water on-site. We will establish a monitoring plan to evaluate the performance of these systems.

The general objective of this PATH evaluation is to evaluate low cost, or lower cost LID technologies that meet or exceed local, State and Federal standards for performance and approval. The evaluation of these systems includes monitoring and testing storm water effluent quality by means of onsite sampling. Samples will be sent to a certified laboratory for testing. The results of the testing will be included in a final report. Those results will be referenced against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) storm water management testing criteria.


March 2003 – The State of NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) Wetlands Bureau approved Mr. Lewis’ plans and provided a wetlands permit.

September 2003 – The Town of Salem Planning Board approved a preliminary Land Use Plan. The plan lies within a Seniors Overlay District, allowing for the use of innovative techniques, such as the LID technologies noted above.

March 2005 – The first phases of the project, which include low-income tax credit units and age-restricted condo apartments, will incorporate several PATH Technologies. It will consist of 149 units on about one-third of the total parcel’s acreage. Infrastructure construction and rough landscaping began in March 2005. Temporary bio-retention areas for storm water, and some roads have been constructed.

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