PerthWorks Lessons Learned

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					                                  User Guide

     Making a Rural Sustainable Neighbourhood Happen
               Based on the PerthWorks Project

                                       July, 2008

Table of Contents

Executive Summary                                          2
A Philosophical Preamble                                   3
A PerthWorks Primer                                        4
STEP ONE: Are You Ready?                                   4
STEP TWO: Selling Council                                  5

STEP THREE: Brainstorm Session                             5
STEP FOUR: Background Research                             6
STEP FIVE: Community Engagement                            6
STEP SIX: Market Research                                  6
STEP SEVEN: Potential Purchaser Scoping Session            7
STEP EIGHT: Design Charrette                               8
STEP NINE: Concept Plan                                    9
STEP TEN: Design Criteria                                  9
STEP ELEVEN: Zoning Considerations                        10
STEP TWELVE: Developer Incentives                         10
STEP THIRTEEN: Assembling the Request for Proposal        11
STEP FOURTEEN: Selling the RFP                            12
Some Closing Thoughts                                     13
Appendix A – Potential Purchaser Scoping Session Survey   15
Appendix B – PerthWorks Concept Plan                      18
Appendix C – PerthWorks Minimum Design Criteria           19
Appendix D – PerthWorks Site-Specific Zoning              21

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       1                   July 2008
Executive Summary
This User Guide is intended to help smaller rural municipalities facilitate the
creation of a sustainable neighbourhood in their community. It assumes that your
municipality is not willing to act as the actual project developer, and your
community does not have a local developer capable of taking on a “sustainable”
project on this scale. The guide therefore concentrates on how a municipality can
entice a development team to come into the community and take on a project.
The approach outlined in this guide presupposes that the municipality has parcel of
land, perhaps a brownfield site, that is (or could be made) surplus. This land should
be well located in order to meet sustainable principles, which include being within
walking distance from schools, recreation facilities, and ideally downtown shopping
Because this is geared at smaller rural municipalities, whose market can only
sustain a limited number of “green” housing units in any given year, it is assumed
that these will be, at least initially, fairly small projects (a few hectares at most).
This means that while the project by itself may not meet the ideals of the 3Cs (a
compact complete community), it will help set an example for future development,
and help move you community down the road to sustainability.

The Guidebook takes you through fourteen key steps, from determining if you are
“ripe” for this sort of project, all the way through to preparing and “selling” a
Request For Proposals (RFP) to the development community.
A key thread throughout this guide is the need to put yourself in the shoes of a
potential “green” developer without stepping out of your own shoes. There are
many reasons for them not to take a risk on your community, so your approach
throughout has to focus on enticing developers to your community, and creating a
viable vision for your selected site and community. This is also a great opportunity
for your community to reassess its own vision in light of ever-changing local and
global issues.
Many of the lessons in this guidebook would also apply to larger, urban
municipalities wanting to promoted sustainable neighbourhoods, although this is
not the primary target of the guide.
The Guidebook is based on the experiences of PerthWorks, a project funded in part
by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Federation of
Canadian Municipalities (FCM) green fund. However, it does not focus on what
PerthWorks actually DID, but rather how other municipalities could best replicate
the PerthWorks experience, learning from their mistakes.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       2                                  July 2008
A Philosophical Preamble
Are you tired of seeing your nice town neutered with the same boring cookie-cutter
houses and neighborhoods? The big house, big lot, big footprint homes, or the
starter homes that are basically garages with a small attached trailer? The ones
that squash any sense of community?
Then this User Guide is for you. It is designed to help communities smaller rural
communities make “good” neighborhoods happen. You know what we mean by
“good”, right? Neighborhoods that actually end up embodying all those wonderful
buzzwords like:
 sustainable,
 energy efficient
 green
 new urbanism
 liveable
 compact
 diverse
 affordable
 resilient
Why don’t “good” neighborhoods happen anymore, other than by rare visionary

exception? It’s not a vast conspiracy by builders and developers to build junk that
will be obsolete in a matter of a few decades. For the most part, they would be
happy to build better neighbourhoods. It’s just that they are businesses, and look
for strong business cases. Typically, that means houses and developments that
they can easily sell in the current housing market. It also means building what
matches the current planning, zoning and building code climate, which tends to be
status quo.
To break out of this rut takes municipal and community vision and leadership.
Thankfully, the time is right for exactly that. The environment, thanks to climate
change, is back on the table in a big way. The words “peak oil” and “post carbon”
are starting to resonate, and “LEED certification” is becoming common. In cities,
people are trading in their 3,500 square foot homes on suburban lots to move into
1,400 square foot condos with no lots. There is a growing and mobile segment of
the population looking for a “good” neighborhood in a nice community to settle
down and weather the coming storms in.
OK, so the time is right – big deal! How do you actually make good neighbourhoods
HAPPEN? The municipality is not likely to become a green developer, and you are
unlikely to have a “green” developer waiting in the wings to “take a flyer” on your
town. That means you need to woo the right sort of developer to your community.
Consider this User Guide a courtship manual.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide     3                                 July 2008
PerthWorks, the project that this guide is based on, did exactly that, and actually
got to first base in 2007, but unfortunately the development consortium that came
on board had to pull out, so the town is back on the dating circuit, and has a couple
of hot prospects. Rather than focus on what we DID (which is touched on in the
PerthWorks Primer below, and explained in more details at
this guide focuses on how we would do it if we were starting again, learning from

A PerthWorks Primer
PerthWorks is a project of the Town of Perth (pop. 6,000), located in eastern
Ontario, 80 km east of Ottawa. Located on a one hectare brownfield site that was
previously a municipal work yard, it is only a
few blocks from downtown and adjacent to                         Challenges
schools, churches and the town’s primary          A lack of local green developers
outdoor recreation facility. The intent of the      capable of financing an entire
project is to demonstrate an alternative form       neighbourhood
of small-town development that is friendlier      Outside green developers don’t know
to the environment, less costly to service and      your community or your market, and
more supportive of a healthy and friendly           their design, management and sales

neighbourhood lifestyle. The hope is that by        people have to commute to your
demonstrating the success on a small scale,         community
similar patterns of development will spread to    Energy payback calculations mean
other development area in and around the            little to developers, who have to build
town.                                               and flip in 6 months
                                                      Green housing market is seen as
The project was envisioned by Geoff Hodgins,           being urban-oriented
a local green architect and Alfred Von
                                                      Local planning, zoning and bylaw
Mirbach, a local environmental consultant.
                                                       realities often impede new
They brought town staff and council on                 technologies and approaches
board, and helped to secure funding from
                                                      Developers need fast turnaround
FCM and CMHC to assist with the process of
what is primarily the preparation of an RFP
for the appropriate development of the site.

STEP ONE: Are You Ready?
Making a sustainable neighbourhood happen is not something to be undertaken
lightly. The path may be littered with obstacles and challenges but the rewards will
be substantial. Your first step is to determine if you are in the right place at the
right time. This issue is dealt with in more detail in a number of CMHC documents,
such as their Charrette Guide and Sustainability Tool Guide, as well as FCMs
Community Readiness Assessment Tool.
However, in synopsis, the key indicators of readiness are being confident that you:

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       4                                  July 2008
    Have A Good Site – This means a municipally owned (or otherwise available)
    site that is walkable to stores, schools, downtown, recreation etc.
    Have Commitment From Key Staff – Do your key planning and financial staff
    “get it”, and will they be able to prioritize it high enough to be able to give it
    the attention and time it will require
    Have Political Will – This will involve the municipality taking a more active roll
    in the development process, which may create some backlash from the
    conventional local development community. Do you have a political champion
    to inspire them to support this process?

Although not essential, it can help if you have some sort of community vision
statement that is supportive of sustainable housing.

STEP TWO: Selling Council
Even with a political champion, you will likely have to help sell the concept and
process to Council. Create a short, “punchy” and graphic PowerPoint presentation
that gives a sense for WHAT you are hoping will emerge, and WHY that is a good
thing for the Town.

Some of the reasons likely to resonate with reluctant councilors include:
 It is targeted at people who currently cannot find what they want in the
  community (e.g. it will help retain those who may move away and/or attract
  new blood)
 It promotes a compact, and therefore infrastructure-efficient form
 It can help to defer or reduce the major infrastructure capital and operating
 It is a model for replication for future development
 It puts the community “on the map”

STEP THREE: Brainstorm Session
Although not always possible , you will benefit
                                                             PerthWorks Principles
greatly and likely save time and energy in the
long run if you start by getting a series of local      Each community should come up
and external professionals together to toss around      with its own, but as an example,
ideas about what would make for an interesting,         here are some of the “themes” that
effective and sustainable neighbourhood in your         emerged out of PerthWorks initial
community. Invite architects, designers, planners,      brainstorming session:
activists and visionaries that are familiar with your    Mixed form
community. Focus discussions under headings              Liveable
such as:                                                 Eyes on the neighbourhood
 Minimizing energy use                                  A sense of community
                                                         People before cars
 Minimizing water and wastewater use
                                                         Weave into the surroundings
 Embodied energy and material section                   Strength through diversity
 Stimulating social cohesion and diversity              Affordable
 Stimulating alternative transportation                 Compact
 Minimizing footprints                                  Safe
                                                         Mixed demographics

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       5                                 July 2008
It can be useful to review criteria systems (e.g. LEED, The Natural Step etc.)
beforehand, and use them as a starting point, focusing on those areas most
relevant to your particular site and community circumstances.
This session will give some sense for the values that your neighbourhood should
embodying. These values may change a bit over time, but they will be useful in
providing people with a sense of the WHAT and WHY of the project.

STEP FOUR: Background Research
Invest at least a bit of time into basic background research – it will be needed for
the RFP, and will help guide the site concept and criteria. Explore:
 What similar projects have happened?
 What is the current state of the art with criteria systems such as LEED?
 Who are the key players in your immediate and more distant area?
 What are the key market parameters and opportunities?
Get creative in how you get this research done. Look for local expertise that might
take this on for a nominal honorarium. It be may something that can be taken on

by a student at a local or nearby college or university, or by an individual wanting
to get her/his foot in the door in the green development field.

STEP FIVE: Community Engagement
Any time you are trying to do something “new”, particularly in a small rural
community, it pays to make efforts to engage the community. Your key target
audiences are:
 The general public (via media stories and perhaps an open house)
 Neighbours of the proposed development (a presentation and open house just
   for them)
 Area builders, developers, planners etc (presentation to the homebuilders
Of these three target audiences, the most
essential one is the nearby neighbours. A little           Web-Based Engagement
effort up front to explain the concept and benefits
                                                       River Green is an eco-village
will pay off big time, compared to having to bring
                                                       proposal in Saskatoon where you
them on board later once they have heard               register interest on-line and then
“through the grapevine” that you are trying to         become involved in the planning.
build some sort of “green ghetto” in their             See:
backyard. It’s a chance to head off some myths
and win over support. Providing examples of
successful “green” communities, such as Davis,
California, may help make the case.
Marketing is a key component to the success of any such project, and all of these
engagement activities are potential venues for identifying prospective residents,
directly and indirectly. It’s about starting a buzz.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide      6                                   July 2008
STEP SIX: Market Research
A project like this won’t get built by the private sector just because it’s a great idea,
or innovative, or better for the planet. You need to convince a developer to take
this on, which means convince them to invest their money. They will only do that if
they believe they can sell the units quickly and at a price that yields a profit. That
involves an element of risk on their part, and you can help to convince them that
the risk is minimal through market research.
If they are even going to consider your RFP, you need to SELL them on the
commercial viability of the project. That means convincing them that there are
people who are ready to buy this sort of home in this sort of neighbourhood. You
may not be able to afford a formal, detailed market study, but at least pull together
whatever demographic and real estate information you have on hand, and augment
it with any “nibbles” you get from community engagement activities or the potential
purchaser scoping session (outlined in the next step). The easier you make it for
the developer to decide if it is a potentially viable project, the more likely you are to
get one or more viable bidder.
In the case of PerthWorks, we were able to get a local real estate agent who was
interested in the project to do this research for a token honourarium.

STEP SEVEN: Potential Purchaser Scoping Session
It is very useful to pick the brains of the types of people who are interested in living
in a sustainable neighbourhood, both to help demonstrate the market, and to get a
feel from potential purchasers on what they are looking for. It will also help develop
a “buzz” about the project. You can often drum up a decent list with little more than
an article of two in the local paper and a series of emails (asking people to forward
to anyone they think might be interested.
Provide a few different ways to collect input from people. Invite interested people to
come to a meeting where you quickly explain the concept and then ask them what
they are looking for. Develop a survey form to go through with them, providing
context for each question. For instance, rather than ask “How many square feet are
you looking for?”, the question should be more like “Assuming creative design and
some access to shared common rooms, separate storage areas, and possibly a bed
and breakfast as part of the neighbourhood, what is the minimum square footage
you think you will need?”. You may find it useful to refer to the annotated survey
form used in the PerthWorks project (Appendix A).
The information from this session will be helpful in subsequent steps, such as the
design charrette and development of design criteria. It will also be valuable
information to incorporate into the market research. Just be aware that developers
give little value to this sort of information, on the grounds that “talk is cheap”.
People will say they want all the “right” things, but when it comes down to actually
putting money down, experience shows that they often become more
“conventional”. However, it is still much better than nothing, and it does form the
basis for an ongoing prospective purchaser data base that you can keep informed
and engaged.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       7                                   July 2008
STEP EIGHT: Design Charrette
Traditionally, a design charrette for a sustainable
neighbourhood project is an intensive and               What is a Design Charrette?
expensive process, requiring extensive
                                                      A design charrette refers to a
preparation and scoping, and then involvement
                                                      collaborative session where
of numerous paid design professionals to work
                                                      multiple design professionals work
with residents through a multi-stage design           intensively in a short period of time
process. While this may appear unaffordable,          to come up with a solution to a
particularly to rural communities, charrettes         design problem.
have the potential to pay back multifold over
time. Consider seeking funding support from           There is a great detailed manual on
organizations such as FCM, or ask council to          charrettes available on CMHC
reprioritize their planning budget.                   website – search for document
If this is just not feasible, it may be possible to
accomplish much of the same objectives with a fraction of the budget by adopting a
less formal design workshop. Take advantage of the fact that being in smaller
municipality allows you to get away with things that might not be considered
acceptable or defensible in a large city. Keep your focus tight, take creative short-

cuts and entice design professionals to participate on a pro-bono basis.
That’s exactly what we did with PerthWorks, by organizing a half day (on a
Saturday morning). The charrette proceeded as follows:
 Introduction and Overview (10 min)
 Key Themes (10 min)
 Objectives/Instructions (10 min)
 Charrette breakout - 4 tables (60 min)
 Break (15 min)
 Report to Plenary (40 min)
 Consolidation (10 min)
 Postcard Exercise (10 min)
 Open Discussion (15 min)
The time allotments were all very tight, but worked fine – pressure can help to
focus content and discussions to the core of the issue at hand.
The first key to making the session work was getting the right people there. The
earlier tasks had already provided us with a good base of interested people. With
some informal asking around, we were able to compile a list of 40 or so potential
good candidates from within and outside of the community. We strove for a mix of
architects, landscape architects, planners, academics, potential purchasers, and
residents from the immediate vicinity of the project, and were able to put together
4 tables with at least 5 people in each, with each including at least one planner, one
architect/designer, one municipal representative, and one longtime community
resident. Woytek Kujawski from CMHC came up for the session and provided some
insights into the objectives, goals and process.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       8                                   July 2008
Each table was provided with a large site plan
which showed the boundaries, roads and
solar orientation. The surrounding
neighbourhood and streetscapes were
described to provide context and ensure the
designs would integrate into the fabric of the
community. A series of design themes for the
project were also provided and kept handy at
each table. Each table was provided with a
supply of different coloured construction
paper cut to scale to represent internal roads,
common/green space, parking and footprints
for single family, multi family and a small three floor apartment-style block.
Tables were given free range to work with the pieces provided (or in pen, if they
preferred) in order to meet the basic design objectives and themes as effectively as
possible. Even though the tables were only given a little over an hour with which to
work, each table came up with an interesting and varied design, with some striking
differences, but many commonalities.

STEP NINE: Concept Plan
Drawing on the designs that emerged from the charrette, Geoff Hodgins, the study
team architect, compiled a concept plan for the site which embodied the recurrent
and best ideas. This became a basis for describing what the project COULD look
like. It was useful for engaging council
and the public, as well as providing
something tangible for developers to
react to. It also became an “off the
shelf” option that developers could
pursue if they wanted, knowing the
council and the community had already
bought in to that concept. However, it
was essential to make it clear that this
was only a concept, and other concepts
that achieved the same goals would
also be considered. See Appendix B for
a full page version of the concept plan

STEP TEN: Design Criteria
The next step is to come up with specific, tangible and measurable design criteria
that you want the development to embody. Think of this as a “high low bar” that
you are asking developers to meet/exceed. It gives the developer a clear sense of
WHAT you are looking for. Equally important, it discourages a “bait and switch”
approach, where a developer promises to be “green” in undefined terms, and then,
once they are well into the process, they revert to conventional development.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide      9                                 July 2008
If you are operating at a medium to large scale                     WARNING!!!
(hundreds of units), you may well be able to go with
some form of the emerging LEED-ND criteria system            Be realistic. This is not
currently being piloted on Canada. For smaller, rural        about what you would like to
projects/site, you may find that some of the criteria        see in an ideal world, but
will not apply and the cost of certification would be        what a developer will
prohibitive. In the case of PerthWorks, we met with a        realistically be able to build
number of building and certification professionals from      and achieve a marketable
                                                             pricepoint while still netting
the area, reviewed the various criteria systems, and
                                                             a profit.
selected 15 specific criteria most relevant to the
specifics of the site and the project. (see Appendix C)

STEP ELEVEN: Zoning Considerations
Although not essential, consider establishing site-specific zoning for the project that
accommodates the concept plan and design criteria, and stimulates sustainable,
new urbanism type design features. By doing this, you give a prospective developer
reassurance that staff and council are on board, and remove one potential delay
and hurdle.
It is important, though, to acknowledge in the RFP that

                                                                Performance Zoning
the site-specific zoning is only one option, and that the
developer can apply for rezoning if there are some           An alternative approach is
aspects of the zoning that do not fit with their             performance zoning, where
particular vision for a sustainable neighbourhood.           you set out what the site
                                                             should achieve but leave it
An alternative approach you may wish to consider
                                                             to the developer as to how
would be for the municipality to actually prepare a plan     to achieve that. Check out:
of subdivision for the project, based on the concept
plan. This eliminates much more risk and upfront cost
for the developer, which makes it much more attractive       c/geo/557book/c232.perfzon
to the developer. The tradeoff is that it is a necessarily   ing.html
more prescriptive approach, and involves more upfront
investment by the town (although those expenses should       be recouped through
higher sale price for the land).
Appendix D includes a synopsis of the site-specific zoning changes made for the
PerthWorks site, and the rationale for each of the variations from the R4 norm.

STEP TWELVE: Developer Incentives
You are trying to get a developer to adopt an approach that is innovative, at least
for your community, and with innovation comes at least a perception of risk. You
may be able to help offset the perception of risk by providing them with examples
of where similar projects have proven successful in other communities, but you are
also going to have to entice them with meaningful incentives.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide      10                                   July 2008
The most obvious incentives are financial ones, such as:
 offering the land at a reduced rate
 easing the developer’s cash flow situation by allowed deferred or installment
   payments on the land or development fees/charges
 discounts or rebates on development fees (on the grounds that the development
   will make more efficient use of municipal infrastructures than a conventional
Non-financial incentives can also be a strong selling feature. Show the developer
how you have streamlined the process. A big problem for developers is all of the
delays, risks and expenses associated with getting their concept to be accepted by
staff and council. Convince them that if they embrace your community vision and
concept, they will be able to proceed to completion and sale in an expeditious and
harmonious manner. For them, time is money, and an expedited process is worth a

STEP THIRTEEN: Assembling The Request For Proposal
The design criteria, concept plan, incentives and site specific zoning from the
previous steps are all key parts of your RFP, but there is much more to be done,
including many things that can be done concurrent with the earlier steps.

Keep the body of the RFP as short and simple as possible. Make sure your RFP:
 asks only for what you absolutely NEED in order to make a decision
 tells them exactly what you are looking for
 clearly outlines the process and timeline
 sells them on your project
For a smaller project, it may not be realistic to require the developer to provide
detailed concepts or submissions. As nice as that would be, requiring too much up
front may well result in you not getting any viable bids. Developers are not likely to
be invest large amounts of time and money on a speculative RFP that is not in their
home community. That is one of the reasons for developing a concept plan and
including it in the RFP. You may also want to include other images of the sorts of
development patterns and form that you are or are not looking for.
What you are really looking for is a developer or development team that embraces
your general vision, shows some leadership, and is interested in working with you
and your community to develop a sustainable neighborhood. The details, designs,
and aesthetics can be worked out later as long as you and the developer can
establish an effective working relationship.
Make sure to outline clearly how proposals will be evaluated. You may want to
consider a two-envelope system, where you only open the envelope with the
financial bid after you have reviewed and determined if bidders meet a set standard
for the non-financial components.
RFPs can range from something very close to an Expression of Interest (very open
ended and basically just asking developers how they propose to develop a given
site) to something resembling a Tender (very prescriptive). The former allows the
greatest amount of flexibility but can be hard to evaluate. It also may involve more

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide      11                                July 2008
risk for the municipality, because you cannot be sure what the developer will
actually do. A tender-type approach, which tells the developer what you want them
to do, will eliminate much of the developer’s creativity and flexibility, and is
therefore likely to dissuade many potential bidders. Remember – you are trying to
attract experts on sustainable development, not be that expert. Pre-RFP
consultation with potential bidders is a key way feel out that tradeoff.
Although the body of the RFP should be as tight as possible, it is important to give
the developer as much background information as possible, tucked into appendices.
Including as much detailed site information as possible (servicing, bedrock,
proximity to key services). If possible, have specific appendices on such topics as:
 Servicing
 Marketing
 Zoning
 Planning Process
The entire PerthWorks RFP is available as a word document on the PerthWorks
website (, in case you opt to use it as a starting template for
your RFP.


So you’ve got a great RFP – that’s wonderful! The only problem is getting potential
developers to know about, to take the time read it, and to get sufficiently enthused
about it to set aside the time to do a viability analysis. And that’s a BIG problem.
Developers have their desks full of “great ideas”, so you
                                                                      Lesson Learned
are going to have to work hard to sell them on why
yours is worth putting at the top of the pile. If you don’t,    Put yourself in the
you may well have wasted all the hard work of the               developer’s shoes. If you
earlier steps.                                                  want them to bid, you have
                                                               to make it as clear, simple
Although the developer it unlikely to take a project like
                                                               and attractive as possible,
this on unless they think there is a decent business case      or they will give it a pass.
for it, it is worth reminding them that this would help        Remember – you are trying
them establish a new niche that is sure to grow in the         to get them to invest their
future. This may make them more receptive to taking            money in your community.
the project on as a bit of a loss leader.
This is not like a roads department tender – you can’t
put an ad in the local paper and an email to people on some list and expect
responses. You need to identify your target, and they work hard to sell each and
every company on your target list.
It is well worth attempting to engaging potential developers in any of the earlier
steps. Not only will this make your RFP more responsive to developer realities, but
it will also ensure they are familiar with the project when the RFP is actually
Without getting into great detail, here are the three main things you need to do to
sell your RFP:

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       12                                 July 2008
a) Identify Your Target – You will have to do a lot of leg work to identify as many
prospective players as possible. Identify companies from at least the nearest two or
three major centres, via internet research and conversations any and all building
contacts. Look not just for developers, but also architects, larger builders, and even
venture capitalists. Track down the appropriate contact person, and their phone
number and email. All of this should happen before the RFP is finished so you can
approach them all right at the RFP release date.
b) Sell Your Targets – Prepare a succinct (not more than 2 page) Executive
Summary of the RFP that outlines a briefly as possible what you are looking for,
what is involved in preparing the bid (hopefully very little) and what incentives you
are offering. Consider it a “teaser” to grab their attention and get them to request
the full RFP. Email them the Executive Summary, asking them to call or email if
they want the full RFP (for tracking purposes). Then follow up each email a few
days later with a friendly pitch by phone. Keep calling until you get through to the
right person. Many who may not respond to a “cold” email will respond to a
friendly, enthusiastic call. Keep on top of your leads with calls and email updates.
Encourage those that are interested in the concept but not able to take it all on to
look for others to round out a team, and help them to form up a team (see next

c) Be A Broker – Recognize that a good bid will likely need a combination of
money, sustainable design experience, development and project management
experience. Some of your leads may be short in one or more areas, so play an
active broker role. Get permission from potential consortium partners to release
their names and interests to others so that they can contact each other to form up
a team.

Closing Thoughts
The following are some closing thoughts, including some lessons learned from
PerthWorks which either are not included elsewhere or restated because they are
key to a successful approach.
 The vision should be the creation of wonderful, livable neighbourhoods, not just
   building energy-efficient houses
 Avoid the typical municipal tendency to be risk adverse. It can be said that
   maintaining status quo is the riskiest thing to do in light of climate change and
   rising energy and food prices etc. If you minimize the risks for the developer,
   you will have more bidders, more competition and higher net proceeds. When
   faced with risk, the private sector tends to assume the worst and cost
 Involve your local homebuilders association early on. Even if your local builders
   are not able to take a lead on the project, you need them to understand up front
   what you are trying to do, why, and how it will benefit them in the long run. If
   they hear about it through the grapevine, they will likely get their backs up and
   erode community and political support.
 Have patience – lots of it. This process will likely take much longer than you
   initially imagine, and hurdles you never dreamed of are likely to pop their heads
   up along the way.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide     13                                 July 2008
   Create and sustain a “buzz” about the project. The buzz will help attract fresh
    ideas, professional help, potential purchasers and community support.
   Cultivate the notion of working WITH the developer on a shared vision – that is
    the key to a cost and time effective process.
   Make sure this is a priority for key municipal staff – it will not work if they
    cannot put the required time and resources to making it happen efficiently and
    effectively. Even if they would like to tackle a project like this, their workload
    may simply not allow them to put in the required time and resource. Sit down
    with them, one-on-one, off the record, and ask them to speak frankly and
   This is an exciting, new, leading edge approach, and if you ask around, you will
    likely find many professionals willing to donate some time and expertise to the
   This is all about enticing a developer to invest money and take a risk on your
    community, and that thinking has to be embodied in every step of the process.
    You can’t be seen to be telling them what you want them do.
   Be as clear as you can about what the rules and expectations are, and remove
    as much uncertainty as possible, while still allowing the developer the flexibility
    to come up with creative sustainable approaches.
   Find and feed the passion and vision. This will be a hard slog, and it will not

    happen if it is just a job. You have to believe in it, and WANT it. Create social
    opportunities along the way to keep the passion going, and make it infectious.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide       14                                 July 2008
Appendix A - Potential Purchaser Scoping Session Survey
The following is an edited version of an annotated version of a survey used to solicit
information about what people were REALLY looking for.
Keep the following points in mind while going through this survey:
        We need honest, confidential input on where you are “prepared to put your money”,
         not what you think you “should” opt for
        By committing to sustainable and new urbanism principles, you can assume that
         PerthWorks will incorporate creative design concepts to reduce footprints (building,
         lot and ecological) relative to conventional development
        By focusing on stimulating a diverse community/neighbourhood, you can assume
         increased opportunities to resolve some space/function issues through increased
         levels of community sharing and support
        We want one handout per household, so if you and your partner disagree, you can
         either come to a compromise now, or indicate multiple answers on one form
        You can check or circle more than one answer, if appropriate, and if one is more
         preferred than another, put a “1” by the preferred option and “2” by the second
Own (freehold) ____
                          Own (condo structure)____       Rent ____
Housing Form – the multi-story block could include lofts, apartments and other units for
people who do not require any private yard space
Single family ___     Duplex ____     Rowhouse/Townhouse ____          multi-story block ____
One level ___      Two floor ____     Three floor____
Price Range
Less than $150,000 ___       $150,000 to $200,000 ____        over $200,000 ____
Building Size - assume efficient design
________ sq ft
Size-Quality tradeoff (mark on scale) – This question attempts to get a handle on what
you are realistically able and interested in paying for, and the quality of construction/finish
you can afford. You can assume that the minimum standard all units will be built to will be
higher than conventional, but clearly the level of interior finishing can vary greatly, and this
question helps give us a feel for target quality.
Max size/$ --------------------------------------------------------------------Max Quality/$
Bedroom Needs
1 ___      2____    3 ____
Bathroom Needs
One 4-pc ___       4-pc + 2-pc____     Two 4-pc ____
Lot Requirements - assume some common areas will be part of PerthWorks
none ___      patio/deck (15 x 15)____     small lawn (20 x 20) ____

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide           15                                      July 2008
Parking Needs – assume some creative transportation options will be incorporated, such
as the commuter bus stopping at PerthWorks, grocery deliver services, car-sharing with
neighbours, special arrangement with local car rental company
None____        Single (garage)____     Single (carport) ____     Single (driveway) ____
Double (single garage plus driveway) ____        Double (garage) ____
VirtuCar – Would you pay for access to a VirtuCar or equivalent?
no ___    yes____
Shared facilities - Circle ones you are interested in and prepared to support financially,
both in terms of the initial capital cost and on-going operating costs or responsibilities
playing field      playground         community garden       party room       guest room
craft/hobby room        rec room        office incubator space     wading pool
other _____________________________
Gas Utilities – Do you need gas for cooking or a fireplace? The reason for this question is
that it may make sense not to provide gas hook-up, assuming heating can be provided
efficiently in other ways, both because of the fixed portion of monthly bills, and because gas
is likely to increase in cost more than electricity in the coming decade(s)
no ___    yes____

Wood Fireplace – The third assumes your unit would have an integrated wood storage and
hatch, and possibly a service that would keep the wood storage area stacked with dried,
split wood and kindling.
no ___    yes____     yes, only if convenience is maximized ____
Appliances - circle one(s) you are interested in
Clothesline: yes ____         no ____
washer & dryer       combined washer/dryer          washer only   communal laundry room
dishwasher      central vac
Air Conditioning – assume units are designed for maximum natural cooling/ventilation
no ___    yes (partial)____     yes (full central)____
Energy-Efficiency Payback Target – what payback period would you consider
appropriate for additional investments (e.g. domestic solar hot water, insulation, glazing,
district heating etc) where the initial additional capital costs would be offset by lower
operating costs?
years ________
Home Office – Are you intending to run a home office? This would mean the design should
provide for office space in your unit, and consideration should be given in the overall design
for things like convenient courier service, visitor access/parking etc.
no ___    yes____
Basement/Storage – given a smaller footprint, how do you see handling your storage
Need basement ___       large (10x10) storeroom____       small (6 x 6) storeroom____
Separate storage unit as part of complex ____

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide           16                                   July 2008
Environmental Sensitivity Concerns
none ____   mild ____         major ______
Accessibility Concerns
None ____    No Stairs____       Full Wheelchair access____    Other
Other Design Issues

Level of Interest
Not Likely ____      Maybe ____       Very Interested ____    Sign Me Up ____
Timing – When might you see yourself wanting to move in, assuming everything falls into
place and the design and price meets your needs?
ASAP ____         2007 ____      2008 ____    2009+ ____

Other questions or comments
Contact Information
Submission options (email, fax, mail etc.)


Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide         17                                 July 2008
Appendix B – PerthWorks Concept Plan


Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide   18   July 2008
Appendix C – PerthWorks Minimum Design Criteria

1. Energy Use
      The minimum energy efficiency standards for the project are to be 30% better than
       the new 2006 OBC standard, as modeled in advance of construction using NRCan’s
       HOT2K modeling software.
      The average for all housing units in the development will be a minimum of EGH82,
       with no unit being lower than EGH80
      Cooling needs for each unit must meet a minimum of 14 SEER

2. Mechanicals and included appliances
      All mechanical systems and included appliances must be Energy Star qualified

3. Windows and Doors
      All windows, patio doors and skylights must be Energy Star qualified for Canada
       Zone C
      All exterior doors must be urethane core insulated or equivalent

4. Insulation Requirements Minimums
      Heated ceilings with attic:

          o   R-44 blown insulation with raised heel trusses if less than 7/12 slope
          o   R-52 blown insulation without raised heel trusses if less than 7/12 slope
      Heated ceiling without attic: R-32
      Exterior walls: R-20 cavity insulation + R-7.5 exterior sheathing, or any wall
       assembly with effective thermal resistance of R-24 including thermal bridging
      Basement walls, R-20 full height interior or R-12.5 full height exterior
      Slab without in-floor heating: R-10 perimeter insulation if less than 2’ below grade
      Slab with in-floor heating: R-10 full slab
      Exposed floors: R-32

5. Air Leakage
      Less than 2 square inches per 100 square feet as tested by CGSB blower door

6. Electrical Savings
      Minimum 1000 kWhrs/yr per unit as per Energy Star Technical Standards pick list

7. Shading of Common Areas
    The common areas will be landscaped such that within 5 years of commencement of
      construction on the site, there will be a minimum of 25% shading using indigenous
      trees and shrubs.

8. Permeability of Hard Surfaces
      A minimum of 50% of all driveway and parking areas on the site will have a
       minimum permeability of 20%

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide          19                                   July 2008
9. Parking
      The maximum amount of parking on the site will be no more than 5% higher than
       the minimum allowed for in the current zoning bylaw

10. Siding
      The amount of PVC siding to be used on any unit will not exceed 30% of the total
       surface area of siding for the unit.

11. Roofing
      A minimum of 70% of the roofing surface area on each unit will carry a warranty of
       at least 30 years

12. VOCs
      All interior paint, finishes and flooring will be either low VOC or no VOC
             o   Interior paints will meeting Green Seal Standard GS-11, January 1997.
             o   Flooring will meet the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Indoor Air
                 Quality Test Program.

13. Xeriscaping
      A minimum of 30% of the common open space areas, excluding parking, laneways
       and driveways, will be xeriscaped (landscaped with drought-tolerant species or other

       non-organic materials) within 2 years of commencement of construction

14. Individual Metering
      To encourage conservation behaviour by residents, all dwelling units other than the
       apartment form building, will have individual electricity, gas and water meters. The
       installation of electricity, gas and water meters for individual dwelling units in the
       apartment form building will be considered a feature of merit in the submission
       review process.

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide           20                                    July 2008
Appendix D – PerthWorks Site-Specific Zoning

        Principle Relief and Alternative Standards of the Site Specific R4-12 Zone

Established R4 Standard           Relief in the R4-12 Zone                Intent of Relief
35 % lot coverage                 Up to 60 % lot coverage on              Provide increased project
                                  individual parcels, 45% for all lands   design flexibility.
                                  in R4-12 Zone plus 5% for
                                  unenclosed decks
6 metre front yard                with rear yard or off-site sparking 4   Support rear yard parking and
                                  metre front yard for single storey; 5   improved street presence
                                  metre for over one and less than
                                  three, 5.5 m for three storey
6 metre rear yard                 4.5 metre rear yard from common         Support provision of common
                                  green space or common parking           green space; encourage
                                  area                                    design flexibility
- standard lot area requirement   Lot area requirement with access        Zoning designed to
                                  to common green space and               compensate for and
-   single detached 420 m
                             2    parking:                                encourage creation of
                            2         - single detached 250 m
                                                                 2        common green space and

-   semi-detached 270 m / du
                                                               2          shared common parking
    duplex 270 m / du                 - semi-detached 198 m / du
                                                                          areas, anticipated smaller
-   townhouse                         -       duplex 154 m / du           building footprints and to
    exterior unit - 250 m /du     -       townhouse                       provide design flexibility.
    interior unit - 165 m /du                                     2
                                            exterior unit - 175 m /du
                                            interior unit - 145 m /du

Lot frontage requirement:         Lot frontage requirement:               Zoning reflective of smaller
                                                                          more compact housing
    -    single-detached - 14 m       -      single-detached - 11 m
                                                                          design anticipated.
    -    semi-detached – 9            -      semi-detached -6.1 m/du

Minimum exterior                  Minimum exterior side yard is 3 m       Provides increased flexibility.
side yard      4.5 m              except a garage facing the street       Garage setback of 6 m
                                  has a 6 m setback.                      provides a measure of
                                                                          pedestrian safety.
Minimum landscaped open           Landscaped open space is to be          Provides design flexibility on
space is 35% per lot.             35% of R-12 lands but can be            individual parcels reflects
                                  reduced to 20% on individual            anticipated common green
                                  parcels                                 space.
All parking to locate on site     Where a common elements
                                  condominium is established paring
                                  for individual parcels can be
                                  located off-site within the Zone
Minimum parking of                Parking for one bedroom units is        Provide design flexibility,
2 spaces per du for single        reduced to 1.1 spaces / du and for      reflects that project is to be
detached, two unit buildings      two bedroom units in semis,             designed to encourage
and 1.25 spaces for any           duplexes and townhouses is              pedestrian activity.
building with 3 or more du        reduced to 1.25 spaces / du

Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide                  21                                          July 2008
R4 Zone permits any mix of     R4-12 Zone permits a maximum of    Intent is to ensure a mixed
uses and up to 100 apt units   50 du; a maximum of 6 single       use higher density
per gross ha.                  detached dwellings; a maximum of   development that will be
                               30 apt. units; and requires a      compatible with adjacent low
                               minimum of 14 apt. units.          density development
Minimum front yard for         Minimum road set back for          Intent is to direct apartment
apartment form building        apartment form building is 25 m    location to interior of site to
is 6 m                                                            address concerns of
                                                                  residents regarding
                                                                  presentation of the
                                                                  development and blending of
                                                                  building types.


Sustainable Neighbourhood User Guide            22                                       July 2008

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