Low Impact Development Toolkit

SEA Street, Seattle WA LID Retrofit

State standards and EPA’s Phase II rules have made stormwater a critical development issue, and many cities and towns are now considering local stormwater bylaws to expand and centralize local authority.

However, communities and developers are looking for alternatives to conventional “pipe and pond” stormwater controls, which are often considered unsightly, expensive, and ineffective. Meanwhile, combined sewer overflows are forcing municipalities to address runoff from densely developed areas.

Low Impact Development

Low Impact Development (LID) is a more sustainable land development approach that begins with a site planning process that first identifies critical natural resource areas for preservation. LID ensures that maintenance of natural drainage flow paths, minimization of land clearance, building clustering, and impervious surface reduction are incorporated into the project design. LID includes a specific set of strategies that treat stormwater management at the site level, ensuring that water is managed locally rather than engineering the discharge of water away from its source.

Stormwater detail

Low impact techniques are used nationwide, with an established set of design and performance standards that can be applied to achieve compliance with state and local codes.

Increasing interest in low impact strategies has created a growing demand for LID-proficient designers for both new construction and retrofit efforts.

Low Impact Development (LID) Toolkit

The MAPC Low Impact Development Toolkit builds from the efforts of the State’s Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit, providing a practical set of visual fact sheets on Low Impact Development methods including rain gardens, bioretention, pervious pavement, and green roofs. The toolkit also includes model bylaw language and an LID codes checklist.

LID Toolkit Fact Sheets

For more information about the LID toolkit, please e-mail

This publication is one component of the Massachusetts Low Impact Development Toolkit, produced by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, in coordination with the I-495 MetroWestCorridor Partnership, and with financial support from United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Massachusetts Low Impact Development Interagency Working Group provided valuable input and feedback on the LID Toolkit.