Assessment of Mansionization and Residential Infill Development on Stormwater Runoff
Residential infill development and the associated increases in impervious cover and stormwater runoff have the potential to overwhelm aging infrastructure causing erosion, flooding, and ecological degradation of waterways. The lack of greenfield sites available for new development around urban centers coupled with a desire for maintaining a traditional neighborhood aesthetic drives residential infill and replacement of existing smaller homes by significantly larger structures, minimizing open space available for stormwater mitigation. An analysis of residential infill development trends in Fairfax County was performed to characterize the effects of intensified development. Development patterns were identified and assessed using digitized impervious cover data extracted from aerial imagery of the study area for six selected years from 2002 to 2015. The average annual increase in percent impervious area was computed to be 0.3%. Redevelopment was found to be mainly occurring in areas zoned as lower-density residential. The spatial distribution of redevelopment showed trends of clustered increases as opposed to isolated events. The hydrologic analysis performed revealed that from 2002 to 2015, there was an 8,930 m3 (7.2 acre-ft) increase in stormwater runoff volume, 38% of which is contributed to by runoff generated from development that is considered exempted from regulation in Fairfax County. Additionally, there was a 28 kg/year (62 lb/year) increase in total phosphorus loads attributable to the change in impervious cover due to residential development throughout the study area. The results of this study provide a quantitative basis for municipalities to amend policies regulating residential development and its associated stormwater management.