New Albany Village Council on Feb. 15 updated its stormwater control ordinances to meet state standards and adopted a stormwater mitigation plan to improve runoff controls and encourage development.

New Albany Village Council on Feb. 15 updated its stormwater control ordinances to meet state standards and adopted a stormwater mitigation plan to improve runoff controls and encourage development.

Council voted unanimously with Colleen Briscoe and Sloan Spaulding absent to amend the village code for stormwater management. The amendment essentially updated the code to match current practices.

Bill Dorman, the village's engineering manager, had explained at prior meetings that the village retains a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Division of Surface Water. The permit allows the discharge of surface water into local streams but restricts the amount of pollutants that can remain in the water runoff.

Dorman said the village's NPDES permit previously applied only to 5-acre sites or more that were disturbed by digging, grading or some other usage that could cause runoff into a local stream. However, standards have changed and the village has changed along with them, requiring projects disturbing involving as little as 1 acre to report the pollutant controls put in place to prevent runoff.

Even though that means some residential projects could be involved, Dorman said, the permit applies only to the area disturbed. As an example, he said if a homeowner with a 1-acre lot wanted to put in a driveway and the digging and grading only disturbed 0.8 acres, the permit would not apply.

Council also voted unanimously to adopt a stormwater mitigation strategy that will provide the village and developers with guidelines on how to handle storm water in the village center.

Kathryn Meyer, the village's deputy community development director, said the strategy continues the efforts already begun to preserve the local watershed and "identifies several improvements, projects and best-management practices that address stormwater management."

By formally adopting the plan, council is showing it wants these practices to be followed, Meyer said.

The plan includes options for stormwater control, some using traditional methods and some nontraditional, more environmentally friendly methods in the village center. The options include:

Installing an urban pond at the northeast corner of Market Street and Dublin-Granville Road to handle stormwater runoff from the development in Market Square.

Implementing more environmentally friendly runoff from smaller streets such as Second and Third streets using permeable brick pavers and a runoff system underneath the street. Third Street was rebuilt in 2010 using the "green" system.

Using a basin and other controls to handle storm water from Miller Avenue and surrounding developments.

Enhancing the flood plain along Rose Run east of state Route 605, possibly with a naturalized preserve that could remain wetlands.

Councilman Glyde Marsh objected to leaving wetlands and basins in the village center, saying the "green" areas do not provide tax revenue and while they may be attractive, they can be home to mosquitoes.

Meyer responded that she has been assured by local environmentalists that wetlands will also be home to animals that eat mosquitoes to curb an excessive population. To answer Marsh's question about less tax revenue, the stormwater mitigation plan could encourage more development.

"By addressing storm water in one location, we may not have to take out more land (for stormwater management), which allows more for development," Meyer said.

Dorman agreed and said by addressing stormwater issues now, the village would maximize areas for future development by saving developers the cost of implementing some stormwater controls.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson said some of the recommended strategies that filter before it returns to local streams would be beneficial. The ecology of local streams will be better maintained if runoff water is able to cool to a more normal temperature before flowing back into a stream.

"The ecology and biology can be addressed through these solutions," she said.

lwince@thisweeknews.com

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