Limit Site Disturbance and Earthwork

P10Limit Site Disturbance and Earthwork

4 points possible

Why this matters to the lake?

Earth disturbance activities such as clearing and grading the land surface can impact the vegetation and soils that protect the lake. Without restoration, these impacts can last for many years. Earth disturbance also increases the potential for sediment discharges to the lake, carrying nutrients and pollutants. Clearing reduces the natural uptake of water and nutrients by vegetation and excessive grading can smooth the ground surface, increasing amount and velocity of runoff.


  • Protect water quality by limiting the extent of earth disturbance, maintaining existing vegetation, topography, and soil structure
  • Promote resource preservation by encouraging redevelopment in previously disturbed areas


  • As part of the Proposed Site Plan, indicate areas that are to be protected from site disturbance and indicate the total area and percentage of the parcel area to be disturbed.
    • New Development:
      • Three points are awarded for new residential development sites that limit the area of disturbance to under 12,500 SF. 
    • Redevelopment:
      • Three points are awarded for reducing the footprint of disturbance on a previously developed site by 25% or more.
      • Two points are awarded for developing on a previously disturbed site and limiting the disturbance to the existing footprint. This includes areas of lawn, paving, etc. 
      • One point is awarded incorporating all previously disturbed areas into the redevelopment.
    • Both New and Redevelopment
      • One point is awarded for developing a site in a manner that reflects existing topography, does not increase existing slopes, and reduces site disturbance, at the discretion of the third-party review body.  

Prerequisite: Sites or projects that clear existing natural areas for the purpose of creating lawn or increasing views of the lake are not eligible for certification, with the exception of minor areas adjacent to buildings and structures. This determination will be made at the discretion of the third-party review body. Keep clearance around buildings to 15 feet maximum and clearing for utilities to 5 feet maximum.


Include the following information with application:

  • For new development, as part of the Proposed Site Plan, show the limit of ground disturbance in square footage and percent of site area disturbed.
  • For redevelopment, as part of the Proposed Site Plan, show the limit of ground disturbance, including documentation that only previously developed areas are to be disturbed, and the percent of the previously developed area disturbed. Applicant should provide a plan that overlays the existing and proposed development.
  • Include a narrative describing practices implemented to reduce site disturbance and earthwork, such as constructing roads and parking areas along contour.

Other Resources

  • Credit 5.1 and 5.4, U.S. Green Building Council. (2003). LEED reference guide for new construction & major renovations (LEED), Version 2.1. Washington, D.C: U.S. Green Building Council.
  • "Sustainable Urban Site Design Manual." City of New York, Web. 

Existing Regulatory Guidance/Requirements

Adirondack Park Agency Act Section 803