City of Goleta Uses Energy Data in Process to Develop Neighborhood Development Floating Zone for Green Community Development

The City of Goleta has received funding through its local government partnership with Southern California Edison (SCE) to establish a voluntary Green Neighborhood Development Floating Zone to foster green community development, and develop tools that will be used for planning and implementation of the floating zone.

As described in the grant agreement: the “floating zone” is:

“a flexible zoning technique that can be used to institutionalize green neighborhood development standards into a single zoning district by incorporating them as eligibility conditions and district regulations, which can then be affixed to appropriate locations at the request of a property owner. In creating the floating zone, a zone classification is authorized for future use, but would not be placed on the zoning map. Developers of compliant parcels could make an application to have the zone applied in a particular location.”

The City of Goleta proposed such a zone in order to build upon the adoption of a reach code in 2010 and the Green Building Program in 2012.

Per the grant agreement:

“Recognizing the additional benefits of sustainable land development and planning at the neighborhood scale, the City would consider a voluntary Green Neighborhood Development Floating Zone to foster green community development. As a starting point, the City would use a model ordinance for the floating zone developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Land Use Law Center that would establish a new zone district using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating system as its standards. LEED-ND contains a set of measurable standards that collectively identify whether a development can be deemed environmentally superior, considering the development’s location and transit access, its internal pattern and design, and its use of green technology and building techniques.”

Interested in learning more about Neighborhood Development Floating Zones? Check out this report from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Guidance on using USGBC’s LEED rating system is available in a technical assistance manual here.