Rain gardens are in, dry detention basins are out, according to changes Canal Winchester wants make to its stormwater management code and design manual.

Rain gardens are in, dry detention basins are out, according to changes Canal Winchester wants make to its stormwater management code and design manual.

Village council heard the first reading July 19 of legislation that would authorize the changes. Public works director Matt Peoples said the code was last updated in 2007 and the design manual was adopted in 2008.

There is a greater emphasis on rain gardens in the code revisions, he said. Rain gardens lessen the impact of individual houses on the stormwater management system because they collect and store rain water, Peoples said.

"There has been a big push regionally for rain gardens, especially because of the Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative," he said. "They had a rain garden in the latest BIA (Building Industry Association) Parade of Homes."

Peoples said rain gardens take some maintenance; the code revisions include standards for the rain gardens.

"One thing we wanted to key on was working with engineers to come up with maintenance language to put in there to make sure what is put in is operated properly, maintained properly," he said.

The stormwater management code also discourages the use of dry detention basins, Peoples said. Detention basis are not allowed unless the applicant receives prior approval from the village, he said.

"We have had a few bad experiences with dry basins -nothing where it adds any pollutants to the system. It is all aesthetics.

"We don't want to see them," he said. "The one on Canal Street (for Waterloo Crossing) looks terrible."

He told village council last week the developer planted grass in that dry basin to improve aesthetics but the grass disappeared.

Council member Jim Wynkoop said he was on the planning and zoning commission when the dry basin was approved for Waterloo Crossing.

"Regulations call for stormwater retention," he said. "Dry basins do what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to retain water and then get rid of it."

Peoples said the village doesn't want to encourage the use of dry basins but doesn't want to cause a hardship for business owners, either. In some cases, as with the basins near the NIFCO property, there aren't any problems.

The updated stormwater management code relaxes some standards, Peoples said. Currently, ponds are required to be 10 feet deep. The updated code calls for pond depths of only eight feet.

"We don't want stagnant water," he said. "We thought that 10 feet was a little too excessive."