RGS Associates, Inc. provides comprehensive expertise in land development consulting, through our staff of landscape architects and engineers. Our experience includes all phases of residential, commercial, retirement, institutional, recreational, public and quasi-public land planning. By closely partnering with you and your staff, we develop cost-effective design solutions that meet your project requirements. It’s all a matter of the right people committed to satisfying your needs.
Site Analysis and Feasibility Studies
Typically conducted during a project’s initial planning phase, a Feasibility Study and Site Analysis provides insight into the opportunities and challenges inherent to a specific property. Common challenges often include zoning/land development restrictions resulting from local ordinances, environmental constraints, site-access limitations and available utility services. A thorough feasibility investigation and site analysis often helps to identify specific challenges to be addressed during the forthcoming design process.
Land Development Planning and Permitting
Subject to municipal reviews and approvals prior to the issuance of construction permits, a project’s site design and engineering are typically guided by regulations set forth in local zoning and land development ordinances. With our firm’s extensive knowledge of applicable local, state and federal permitting processes, RGS is able to navigate through the complexities of land development reviews and permitting to secure these required approvals.
Green Infrastructure and Stormwater Management Design
A major cause of pollution within developed areas, stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, streets and parking lots is typically directed toward nearby bodies of water via a series of pipes, storm inlets, and space-consuming basins. This runoff carries debris, bacteria, sediment, and other pollutants. In older communities, it might also be mixed with sewage prior to direct release into waterways during heavier storm events that exceed sewage treatment plant capacities. In place of conventional stormwater management, green infrastructure addresses stormwater closer to its source by employing alternative and typically smaller management systems such as vegetated rain gardens, bio-swales, permeable or porous paving, green roofs, injection wells and rainwater harvesting techniques. RGS has garnered national recognition for its innovative use of green infrastructure and its promotion of healthier local waterways through educational forums.
Floodplain Restoration Services
With careful planning, floodplains can be effectively used to address both stormwater quantity and quality. What might be viewed by some as unusable land, floodplains can actually become valuable site assets with multiple benefits. Floodplain restorations can replace or diminish conventional, space-consuming stormwater detention basins resulting in an increase of buildable site area. Removing legacy sediment that has accumulated within floodplains over centuries of deforestation, milling and agricultural land use, heavily eroded waterways can also be transformed into aesthetic assets. RGS managed the first project within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in which a conventional detention basin was permitted to be deconstructed following successful floodplain restoration and implementation of progressive stormwater management techniques.
Erosion and Sediment Control Design and Permitting
Erosion and Sediment Control Plans are required to minimize erosion and to prevent sediment from running into waterways from sites disturbed during construction activities. Such plans are approved and permitted by local soil conservation districts and by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Using erosion and sediment control measures such as filter socks, sediment traps/basins, swales, and stabilized construction entrances, RGS has a long history of successful project permitting.
Part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program, Notice of Intent (NOI) Permits are required for sites with areas of construction disturbance larger than one acre. There are two types of NPDES permits: a General Permit and an Individual Permit. Applicable permit types are determined based upon a project site’s size and the existing classification of waterway(s) to which site runoff ultimately discharges. Due to our expertise and established working relationships with permit-approving agencies, RGS is able to obtain approved permits in a timely manner.
Sewer and Water Facility Design
RGS services include planning for sanitary sewer mains, gravity mains, laterals, on-lot sewage disposal systems and on-lot water connections. We coordinate with private entities and municipal authorities to obtain required permitting of most systems, and we will often work with affiliated partners for larger municipal utility connections, if needed.
RGS services include construction observation and any inspections required for Notice of Termination (NOT) Permits. Along with our clients, the contractors and other design professionals, RGS participates in all requested construction meetings and provides thorough oversight throughout a project’s construction process. If requested, we will also review the installation of stormwater management systems, other utilities, paving and plantings to certify correct installation per the project’s approved design plans.
Site Master Planning
One of the most critical phases of a complex project is its master planning effort. Following a careful site analysis and feasibility study and a thorough understanding of the client's objectives, a Site Master Plan can clearly identify a property’s development potential and its phased implementation strategies. Our design professionals work closely with RGS clients to create these master plans which ultimately serve as the foundations for subsequent project phases including design development and construction documentation efforts.
Garden and Planting Design
Our planting designs thoughtfully complement architectural details, accentuate natural features, respond to municipal planting requirements, assist with stormwater management strategies and adhere to the client’s unique project objectives including budget and maintenance realities. A well-planned planting design fully contributes to a project’s overall aesthetic while providing a seasonal succession of landscape interest. It also requires a thorough understanding of the fourth dimension — time — to fully anticipate design changes over the course of weeks, months and years as plantings mature.
Public and Private Open Space Design
With a thorough understanding of what makes popular outdoor gathering spaces so successful while others fail to attract users, our landscape architects strive to create memorable public or private open spaces. Whether a park, urban plaza, neighborhood green, community gateway or private courtyard, well-designed outdoor amenities add economic, psychological and aesthetic value for those who will use, market or simply view these designed open spaces.
Visualization and 3D Modeling
RGS can transform flat, two-dimensional plans into interactive, three-dimensional models and videos. With these visualization tools, our clients are able to take virtual tours of their newly designed sites long before the start of construction. In addition, digital visualization aides can be effectively used to garner public support for potentially controversial community growth initiatives by providing a clear depiction of the proposed project outcome for those who have difficulty understanding two-dimensional graphics.