Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Walmart skirting stormwater regulations?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Charlotte Urban Flooding circa 2009

It's no secret that Charlotte-Mecklenburg has a stormwater issue: it storms, it floods. The water overwhelms creeks and streams, sometimes pushes out into the streets and, during more severe storms, rushes into people's homes. That's why the city put regulations in place to help curb stormwater flooding.

With the construction of a new Super Walmart on Independence Boulevard, however, comes discussion of of possible revisions to those regulations.

Even with regulations, companies still do as they wish — damn our urban-flooding problem — and simply pay a fine.

David Merryman, our Catawba Riverkeeper, weighs in: "Citizens throughout Charlotte have spoken out and called for the upholding of this ordinance, City Council should not be dishing out more concessions to developers. They’ve gotten enough and our flooded, degraded streams can’t handle anymore."

From The Charlotte Business Journal:

City officials say the regulations follow federal requirements and provide a long-term benefit that prevents flooding, slows erosion and cleans Charlotte’s polluted waters. But developers say the rules — called the post-construction controls ordinance — are confusing at times. They also contend the rules can conflict with the city’s revamped tree ordinance and could substantially increase the price of future homes, apartments, offices and industrial buildings.

...

The changes would:

• Remove requirements that set aside natural areas if such rules are redundant with the city’s tree ordinance.

• Add language that clarifies state-required 30-foot buffers for certain types of sites.

• Allow developers to pay a mitigation fee instead of following the requirements for redevelopment projects.

Developers already have the option to pay a mitigation fee on projects in transit station corridors or in places identified by the city as distressed business areas, which is about a third of all the properties in Charlotte.

Hammock says the fees have been paid to avoid various parts of the stormwater rules on 14 projects in the past three years.

For example, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. paid $60,000 per acre for its 155,000-square-foot SuperCenter project that is under construction at the site of the former Amity Gardens Shopping Center on Independence Boulevard.

Read the entire article, by Susan Stabley, here. (Subscription may be required.)

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