University of Delaware

Coastal Communities Enhancement Initiative (CCEI)

Supported the creation of a land use model for “what-if” visioning based on form-based growth principles.  City and State planners work with stakeholders to “paint” their land use vision for their communities using 100-acre tiles. The 13 land use designations estimate environmental and community impacts. Then Google Earth visualizes the potential 3D landscapes. 


Delmarva Atlantic Watershed Network (DAWN)

Prepared CommunityViz projects to evaluate regional development impacts for 4 coastal counties in 3 states.  The participating counties included Sussex (DE), Accomack (VA),  Northampton (VA ), and Worcester (MD).  Maryland Coastal Bays directed the effort.  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Maryland and Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and the University of Delaware Coastal Communities Enhancement Initiative provided support. 

The analysis calculated build-out based on current zoning densities and restrictions.  The results fed a model to estimate future nutrient loads.  Existing development and the associated nutrient loads provided a basis for comparison.  Resource overlap analysis of buildable land identified threatened land areas.  The modeling was prepared in CommunityViz and presented at workshops in each of the 4 counties.  A training session guided local staff in generating future development alternatives.   

DAWN Model Results


Existing Residential Density        Buildout Residential Density


Model Outputs,

Northampton County Virginia


Nitrogen by watershed

Existing Nutrient Loads            Buildout Nutrient Loads

Overlap Analysis of Environmental Resources


Green Infrastructure



Prime Agricultural Land


Sensitive Species


Northampton & Accomack, VA

Nutrient analysis under various Build-out scenarios

Revised DAWN models to evaluate impacts of various zoning and comp plan revisions. 



Sussex County, Delaware

Prepared CommunityViz projects for Coastal Communities Enhancement Initiative 


Sussex Comparison

Sussex WebShots


Bayside Development


Hands-on training exercise used at APA National Convention (over 50 students). Includes many CommunityViz tools, linked together in a logical progression.  The tools used include Build-out, Common Impacts Analysis, Suitability Analysis, TimeScope™ and Google Earth export.  



Cave Basin

Impervious Surface  

Research completed over the last 20 years shows an increasingly significant correlation between percent impervious surface coverage in a watershed and stream water quality. Streams with increasing imperviousness exhibit many of the following conditions: increased flood peaks, lower stream flow during dry weather periods, degradation in stream habitat structure, increased stream bank and channel erosion, fragmentation of riparian forest corridor, and a decline in fish habitat quality (Pelley, 1997).

This analysis estimates the impervious surface for an area southeast of Milton, Delaware.   The project is in the Broadkill watershed in Sussex County. At 10 percent imperviousness, a large drop-in stream water quality occurs.

The land use based impervious surface analysis uses the State 1992 and 2002 Land Use layers. The feature analysis uses building footprints and roads. The 2010 scenarios include building a PLUS project (2006-10-03) into Milton on Cave Neck for 370 units on 71 acres. The build-out includes Current Zoning and Ag10Ac assumes agricultural areas use 10 acre lots (not .5 acres).


Sussex Schools

Fiscal Impact Analysis  

This project evaluates capital facilities for Indian River School District .  It provides a sample of Fiscal Impact Analysis using CommunityViz for the Delaware State Planning Office.  The analysis examines new school facilities and costs based on current enrollment trends. 





Sussex Flood

Retiree Evacuations

The coastal region of the Delmarva Peninsula is growing rapidly, with the new population dominated by retirees.  This area risks serious flooding from Nor'easter’s and other events.  The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 brought 40’ waves to Rehoboth Beach, destroying the boardwalk and beach front homes. 


Many senior citizens do not recognize the risk, become confused or disoriented, seek comfort of home, move more slowly, need medicines special  medical  attention, and  need to stop frequently.  The first step in preparing for evacuating is assessing the demand; estimating the number of senior citizens at risk in various storm events.  


The analysis uses CommunityViz and Google Earth to assess the at-risk population in specific storm events.  The methodology includes:

  • Assigning flood risk for each building
  • Calculating retirees per household
  • Summarizing results in charts
  • Varying the storm intensity with slider bars
  • Visualize the impacts in Google Earth