Vancouver Low Impact Development

Abundant water resources are vital to Vancouver’s high quality of life. The City of Vancouver is committed to protecting our streams, lakes, rivers, and groundwater by managing stormwater runoff from streets, buildings, parking lots and other hard surfaces.

As part of the federal Clean Water Act, the City meets requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit (Permit). The Permit went into effect in 2013 and will expire in 2018. Vancouver’s first Permit was issued in 2007.

The cornerstone requirement of the Permit is to promote low impact development (LID) as the first choice for new development, redevelopment, and construction.

What is LID?

LID is a site development technique whose primary tenet is to manage rainfall in ways similar to nature. How?

  • Planning a site to minimize the “footprint” of impervious surfaces creates less runoff.
  • Preserving or replanting native vegetation allows rain to be caught, evaporated, and transpired by trees.
  • Distributing small-scale vegetated facilities across the landscape allows most rainfall to soak into the ground near where it falls.

With LID, integrating stormwater management early into site planning can help create an urban landscape that acts more like a forest. Benefits include recharging aquifers, keeping streams supplied with cold water in summer, and avoiding damage to salmon habitat from concentrated surface water discharges to streams.

Code Review

To help make LID commonplace, the City is reviewing its development codes and engineering standards to allow smaller impervious footprints, encourage retention and restoration of trees, and to adopt LID practices such as bioretention, dispersion, and downspout infiltration as the preferred choices for managing runoff.

Changes are proposed to Title 14 – Waters and Sewers, Title 20 – Zoning, and Title 11 – Streets.


We welcome your comments! Please e-mail Annette Griffy at to let us know what you think.


The City’s Permit requires updates to go into effect by December 31, 2016. Our schedule includes community involvement this summer, followed by approval from Planning Commission this fall and adoption by City Council in November.

Stakeholder Meetings:
June 9, 4-6pm
June 22, 4-6pm
July 13, 4-6pm
Held at Vancouver City Hall, 415 W. 6th St., Aspen Conference Room

Urban Forestry Commission: July 20, 6pm

Planning Commission Workshop: August 23, 4pm

Planning Commission Hearing: September 27, 6pm

City Council Workshop: October 3

City Council Consent: October 10

City Council Public Hearing: October 17

Urban Forestry Commission, Planning Commission, and City Council Meetings are held at:
Vancouver City Hall
Council Chambers
415 W. 6th Street
Vancouver, Washington'

Staff Contact: Annette Griffy at


Other Resources

Low Impact Development Self-Guided Tour In Clark County
Washington Stormwater Center
US Environmental Protection Agency Green Infrastructure