Friday, September 21, 2007

Strong Opposition To Coastal Stormwater Rules at DENR Public Hearing

Sept. 20 – Representative from the towns of Southern Shores, Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills went on record Thursday evening opposing proposed coastal stormwater rules. Dare County Board Chairman Warren Judge and Commissioners Allen Burrus, Mike Johnson and Richard Johnson all expressed opposition to the rules. Everyone was in agreement that “one size does not fit all” and rules that apply to New Hanover, Onslow and Brunswick Counties should not be implemented here. The proposed rules are even more restrictive than the Phase II rules that those Counties have to follow. Approximately 120 people attended and over 25 people spoke during the public hearing and stated:

· Where is the scientific data to show that the proposed changes will improve water quality in shellfishing waters?

· What about vested rights?

· What is the hurry or push to get these rules through without addressing current conditions such as swales not being maintained and ocean outfall issues?

· Members of the engineering/surveying community stated that the proposed rules were not practical.

· Many initiatives were being implemented on the local level to address stormwater runoff.

· The economic impact assessment is extremely low since it did not include many of the factors of the rules.

· 80% of the land in Dare County is protected property.

· NC DOT should not be exempt from the regulations.

· Wetlands should not be excluded from acreage for any reason.

· The 10,000 sq. ft. land disturbance threshold for permitting is too low.

· The permitting process will be bogged down and overwhelmed with the enormous increase in permit applications.

· No cost-benefit analyis has been performed.

· The rules would greatly increase the cost of not only homes but schools and other facilities.

Below is a list of the proposed changes:

· Extending the existing 30-foot vegetative setback to 50 feet.

· Reducing the low density threshold within ½ mile of shellfishing (SA) waters from 25% to 12% impervious surface density (built upon area). Any project over 12% lot coverage (high density) will need a structurally engineered stormwater system on site that will control and treat stormwater runoff based on the one-year 24-hour storm calculations. The current rule requires stormwater control for the first 1.5 inches of rainfall.

· Reducing the low density threshold for development activities beyond ½ mile SA waters from 30% to 24%. Development projects over 24% lot coverage will be required to install structurally engineered stormwater systems as described above.

· Prohibiting the use of all wetlands impervious surface calculations for projects covered under these rules.

· Lowering the threshold for coverage under these rules from 1 acre of land disturbance to 10,000 square feet of land disturbance.

No comments: