Monday, May 11, 2009

Open your wallet, flooding is expensive

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Why do city streets flood during storms? Because of years and years of poor planning. The mode of operation has been to conquer nature and build, build, build without thinking about consequences.

Here's the problem: Water does not soak into concrete. It runs off of concrete, overwhelms small creeks and overflows into urban areas when the banks can no longer hold the rush of water.

There are plenty of solutions, but they cost. Sure, they would have cost less if we'd planned better, but we didn't. Now we have to backtrack and that's expensive — and we're all going to pay for it, some more than others.

If approved by local government, the annual payment for a Charlotte property owner with 5,000 square feet or more of impervious surface would increase to about $209 from $96 – or by 118 percent.

The annual fee for properties with less than 2,000 square feet would decrease to about $67 from $73 – or by 9 percent.

“Some are going to see a hefty increase,” said Sharon Foote, spokeswoman for the agency. “But they're contributing more stormwater runoff.”

First imposed in 1994, the fee charges property owners for houses, driveways and other impervious surfaces that block rain from safely soaking into the ground during downpours.

Too much rain and too little grass or dirt can result in flooding.

Officials and academics say an increase in average home size and decades of rampant development that covered up green space have helped create what is now a local flooding problem.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article here.

Here's one thing we can do to ease the flooding problem:

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