The City of Coconut Creek was recently designated a Green Local Government with Gold Certification from the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC). The City received the highest ranking score in Broward County and the fifth highest in the State of Florida. The City’s green construction initiatives were a large part of the success of the FGBC certification.Linda Whitman, Senior Planner
All new projects in the City of Coconut Creek must be submitted for review to the Planning Division and the Development Review Committee (DRC). Through the DRC process, a green review is administered and each project is required to state how the requirements of Section 13-320 are being met. Before site plan approval is granted, staff and the developer will have agreed on the elements of the project that meet the city’s green construction criteria. Those elements are then required to be added to the plans at the time of building permit submission. The building permit set is re-routed back through planning and checked against the approved site plan for green compliance. At any time after construction is completed, if any element of the green requirement is not being met for the project, code enforcement action may be applied.
In the early 90s, Coconut Creek capitalized on their expansive park system and set out to brand themselves with the tagline “Culture of Green Excellence.” Community buy-in was developed initially through a campaign for butterfly gardens and was a huge success leading to the city butterfly known as Fluffy. The city’s green efforts are highlighted with the use of “Fluffy on the Green.” Coconut Creek is now trademarked as the Butterfly Capital of the World®.
In 2002, to further the idea of a green and sustainable city, the city commission authorized the Coconut Creek MainStreet Master Plan study to provide guidance and clear direction in the future development of a large undeveloped area located in the center of the city. As the City of Coconut Creek formed parameters for sustainable growth in the MainStreet project area, green construction was deemed appropriate along with the goal of being the first city in the state and country to have a contiguous certified green building project. The design guidelines for MainStreet stressed green design and construction over an architectural style for a true form follows function concept. Out of this effort, city leaders were determined to take an active role in all green construction in the city. The goal was to create a city-wide mindset of green construction and to be a leader in the county for such development.
Initial feedback from the community indicated that for areas outside of MainStreet, keeping the green review local would serve to meet the needs of the community better. As a result, the city created a Green Building Construction section of the city’s Land Development Code which was adopted in 2008 and applied to all construction in all areas. Conformance to this section of the code fell to the city’s Development Review Committee, which is comprised of building, code, engineering, police, fire, and planning.
Section 13-320 of the Land Development Code requires each project seeking development to demonstrate compliance for:
- Construction pollution prevention
- Construction site materials recycling
- Stormwater management
- Alternative transportation
- Minimizing heat island effect
- Water efficiency
- Innovative water technologies
- Water efficient landscaping
- Energy efficiency
- Minimum energy performance
- On-site renewable energy
- Indoor environmental quality
- Indoor air quality
- Materials and recycling
- Recycling of demolition waste
- Storage and collection of recyclables post-occupancy
- Building reuse
- Regional materials
Additionally, all new development or redevelopment applicants must retain a LEED accredited professional within their planning and design team, and the property owner must maintain green building components for the life of the building.