Discussing current issues in civil engineering.
In a publication by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a study takes a look at ways to expand housing opportunities through inclusionary zoning (IZ). The study, conducted by the Urban Institute in 2012, focused on two counties in Maryland and Virginia to examine the effectiveness of IZ programs.
Inclusionary zoning requires builders of new residential developments to set aside a certain percentage of housing units for low-income residents. The Urban Institute found that counties implementing inclusionary zoning had stronger housing markets as long as programs are kept up to date with affordability levels and unit requirements. Research into housing agencies’ and nonprofit organizations’ use of IZ-produced units can help developers understand how to sustain and extend IZ affordability in other counties.
Although the study concludes more research is necessary to evaluate the costs and benefits of IZ programs, it shows that IZ programs provide important aid to those who need it. If more regions choose to implement IZ practices, the benefits of high-quality school districts and employment opportunities will become more easily accessible to residents who rely on affordable housing availability.
To learn more, check out the complete report, "Expanding Housing Opportunities Through Inclusionary Zoning: Lessons from Two Counties."
In the September 2018 issue of “Civil Engineering” magazine from the American Society of Civil Engineers, an article by editor-in-chief Laurie A. Shuster discusses the rising class of young engineers. In her editor’s note, she writes that “millennials want to be a part of something greater and more important, beyond what benefits just themselves. And they find that in their careers as civil engineers.”
Millennials’ affinity with growing technology and social media grants them the skills to easily adapt and self-teach new programs that would typically take more training for those who grew up in different technological ages.
From her experience attending ASCE’s Younger Member Leadership Symposium, Shuster notes young engineers’ big picture visions, ambition, and desire to improve their communities beyond themselves. Our future generation of engineers looks bright!
The Harrisonburg Planning Commission will hold a public hearing this Wednesday, October 10th at 7pm in City Council Chambers (409 South Main Street) to consider the City’s Comprehensive Plan. According to the city’s official notice, everyone will have the opportunity to express their views at this public hearing and at others held by the City.
Wednesday’s meeting will discuss the proposed Comprehensive Plan, which includes an updated Land Use Guide and Street Improvement Plan.
It’s important for our community and its citizens to participate in public hearings to make sure any questions and concerns from the public can be considered for upcoming projects. Please consider attending!
Comments may also be sent to Thanh.Dang@harrisonburgva.gov or addressed to the Department of Planning & Community Development and will be shared with the Planning Commission and City Council.
With recent flooding along the East Coast, flood management and prevention is a priority for civil engineers more than ever. While there’s no way to know exactly how much damage a natural disaster will cause ahead of time, it’s part of our job to think ahead and have plans set in place for any situation.
Solutions before and after a flood include a comprehensive stormwater approach and floodplain protection and recovery, along with traditional methods when needed to safely divert excess water and other storm run-off after heavy rain. With recent flooding after hurricanes hit the East Coast, flood prediction and disaster management are especially relevant ways to address the issues that come with natural disasters.
The October 2018 issue of PE Magazine features the article “Overwhelmed,” which discusses the measures officials must take for future flood prevention after Hurricane Harvey. According to the Harris County Flood Control District, 4.7 million residents of the Texas county were affected in some way by the flooding, and Hurricane Harvey stands as one of the country’s costliest weather events at $125 billion. Some structures, such as the Texas Medical Center, didn’t experience damage because of protocols, improvements, and systems implemented after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Even so, with the wide-reaching damage that occurred across the state, it’s important to think ahead by implementing improvements that work to minimize disaster impact before it strikes.
While location is always a consideration before starting a new project, living in a floodplain can make building in easily-flooded areas inevitable. Understanding potential risks and thinking ahead makes all the difference when it comes to the environment. Our firm offers Feasibility Studies, Environmental Impact Reports and Environmental Site Assessments to help you understand how to get started. Our team is here to provide you with the high-quality engineering services your project deserves. Contact us to get started.
You’re interested in buying a piece of property and have a vision for developing it……now what?
Don’t jump into purchasing just yet! Make sure your vision can become a reality by considering these questions first:
Commissioned engineers determine feasibility by identifying clear or hidden problems that may occur during the planning, design, government review, and construction stages. These problems are identified through a comprehensive analysis of information related either directly or indirectly to the property. This data is comprised of three main categories: legal condition, physical condition and regulatory concern.
It’s important to note that feasibility is more than just a technical consideration. Engineers also consider more ambiguous problems such as citizen opposition, or governmental preferences and push-backs. This collective information will become an essential tool for planning and development, and with effective preparation comes success.
Are you interested developing a piece of land, but not sure of the risk? If so, give us a call! We offer Feasibility Studies, Environmental Impact Reports and Environmental Site Assessments. Our team is here to provide you with the high-quality engineering services your project deserves. Contact us to get started.
During site development it’s important to have and maintain a good erosion and sediment control (ESC) plan. It's not only wise to have one, but chances are your locality requires you have one because of the property destruction and drinking-water pollution that can occur. Erosion and sediment control plans are a combination of various temporary installations that either contain, filter or stabilize sediment during land-disturbing activities. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) states that these measure help "prevent soil movement or loss, enhance project aesthetics and eliminate appreciable damage to off-site receiving channels, property and natural resources."
All jobs sites must have, at minimum, a silt fence for catching runoff sediment and it must be installed prior to development. More effective methods for erosion control include diversion dikes and sediment traps for channeling the runoff and settling trapped sediments. Methods for stabilizing sediment include vegetation establishment, in which developers lay either temporary or permanent seeding that’s covered by hay or mulch.
Does your upcoming development project need an engineered ESC plan? If so, give us a call! Our team is here to provide you with the high-quality civil engineering services your project deserves. Contact us to get started today.
If you’re thinking of developing a commercial property in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County, this article will tell you what to expect. Regulations and ordinances can seem overwhelming, so we did the research for you. Our overview will help you map out what’s needed for your next project or commercial site plan design.
How Do I Know If I Need a Site Plan?
Not only do new construction projects require a site plan, but many smaller projects require a site plan too. Construction or modification of water, sewer or utility systems fall into this category, as does any property whose disturbed area will be greater than 10,000 square feet. Additionally, any property located within a floodplain will need to have a site plan, regardless of type or size.
Are There Site Plan Prerequisites?
Yes! Both Harrisonburg and Rockingham County require you submit additional documents that an engineer must prepare and gain approval of prior to submitting your site plan to your local Community Development office. Depending on the scope of your development project, you may need to show approved reports related to Water/Sewer, Fire Chief and Public Works regulations.
This is just a brief overview for helping you in getting started! Do you need help in navigating your own site plan approval process? Or do you need professional engineers for commercial site plan design and review? If so, give us a call! Our team is here to provide you with the high-quality civil engineering services your project deserves. Contact us to get started today.
All summer long, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity is selling raffle tickets for a Crooked Playhouse and handmade log cabin style quilt! Winners will be drawn on August 18th, the last day of the Rockingham County fair. You’re still eligible to win even if you can’t make it to the fair!
Our friends at Clover Hill United Methodist Church stitched this beautiful (and huge!) quilt by hand, and students from Broadway High School designed and built this awesome playhouse themselves.
Stop by Habitat’s office or give them a call at (540) 828-6288 if you’d like to see these prizes in person.
Log Cabin Quilt
1 for $2
3 for $5
1 for $3
2 for $5
5 for $10
Feel free to swing by our office to get your ticket today! We are located at 320 South Main Street in downtown Harrisonburg. Want to learn more about our local Habitat for Humanity? Check them out here!
Take a minute to picture your house and yard after a heavy rain…is there a spot in your yard that always seems oversaturated? Does your driveway or street become a mini river from the rain runoff? Maybe the place underneath your gutter spout is a problem to landscape? These occurrences are more than unsightly and frustrating – they’re actually part of a huge soil and water conservation problem that Virginia faces!
Our leading cause of poor water quality is from “nonpoint source pollution;” in other words, the water runoff we just described. The runoff carries toxins like fertilizers, pesticides, oils and bacteria into our lakes, rivers and coastlands and eventually ends up in our drinking water. However, Virginia is determined to help our environment and is offering an impressive incentive for you to help, too!
In 2016, a nonprofit called The Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD) created The Virginia Conservation Assistant Program (VCAP) for reducing the cost of installing conservation improvement projects. Participating home and property owners who install conservation practices on their properties receive a reimbursement incentive from VCAP - up to 75% of the cost is reimbursed. Practices like impervious surface removal, conservation landscaping, rainwater harvesting, green roofs and permeable pavement are just a few of several eligible projects included in the VCAP.
The VCAP is barely two years old, yet it’s already become incredibly popular with individuals and organizations, alike. While this is great news for conservation efforts, VCAP funding is limited, however. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to give back to your environment while improving the appearance of your home or property!
Want to know more about the VCAP? Already have a project in mind? Then give us a call! Our team is here to provide you with the high-quality civil engineering services your conservation project deserves. From start to finish, we’ll guide you through the VCAP process and together, we can help our environment.
On Wednesday April 18th, Harrisonburg’s first ever day of giving, The Great Community Give will take place, and people from all over Harrisonburg will be showing their love to their favorite local nonprofits all day long. Check out their site here!
The Great Community Give has inspired us to talk about one of our favorite local nonprofits – Central Valley Habitat for Humanity. Since 1988, Central Valley Habitat has been providing the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area with affordable homes sold at no profit nor interest, and whose volunteers build the homes with homebuyers, not for them.
Why Do We Support Central Valley Habitat?
Colman Engineering’s Principal, Gil Colman, has been involved with Central Valley Habitat since 2011 and currently serves as the Vice President on the Board of Directors. Gil also works with Habitat's Site and Building Committee, contributing his expertise and experience.
Central Valley Habitat envisions a world where everyone has a decent place to live and understands that housing instability, i.e. struggling to afford rent, frequently moving homes or overcrowding in the home, often results in depression and hopelessness. By providing our communities with affordable housing, Habitat is creating happier and healthier children, families and neighborhoods – something we certainly can get behind!
Want to learn more about our local Habitat for Humanity? Check them out here!
Is your project in need of civil engineering services? If so, give us a call today! Our team is here to provide you with the high-quality civil engineering services your project deserves.