30 May Permeable pavers allow fraternity house to comply with city ordinances
In Charlottesville, Virginia, home to the University of Virginia, city ordinances forbid builders to have an impervious surface over 75 percent of the footprint of a lot. A big house on a small lot may well mean that your plan to put down a concrete driveway leading up to a garage will have to be abandoned or changed.
Enter the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house, a big brick (11,414 square feet) house near the university campus. John Rhett, principal of Rhett Architects, is overseeing alterations and renovations to the 1920s-era home to 26 fraternity brothers, restoring it back to its original condition, with complete mechanical upgrades. When complete, the changes will allow the owners to achieve tax credits.
Rhett said the landscape design presented a challenge. With the house taking up nearly the entire corner lot, there is hardly any usable outdoor space. City ordinances forbade putting down a 1,500 square foot concrete pad, so StormPave® permeable clay pavers were chosen.
“We really did not want to exceed the runoff quotient,” said Rhett. “The character and the function of that product were just ideal. This will be a parking lot and a patio at the same time. They have a lot of social activities and lawns just don’t stand up to the activities very well.”
Rhett said that the property does not comply completely with the city code, but could not, given the measurements of the house and the lot, “You have to do the best you can, even if you can’t reach the entire goal.”
Jeff Craig, vice president of Westwood Contractors, DBA WestCon, has installed permeable pavers for years. This will be his first experience with StormPave, but not with Pine Hall Brick. Craig’s company has done extensive installations of Pine Hall Brick’s conventional clay brick pavers in downtown Norfolk and Richmond.
“I first saw the StormPave at a hardscapes convention in Tennessee three years ago and I have been asking the local guys about it ever since,” said Craig. “The past three years, it has really stepped up and we have seen a lot of pervious designs coming out.”
Craig said that the key to good design is to install a ground surface that picks up the colors from the vertical walls. He said the StormPave will do just that.
“This color will truly complement the house,” said Rhett. “I think this is going to polish up well.”