Plainfield Considering Storm Water Variance

Nov. 20, 2007
A Plainfield, Ill. builder hopes to be granted a storm water variance.

Plainfield, Ill. resident Don Nelson has recently learned that a city developer, The Boulevard, cannot ask the village for a floodplain variance, according to village ordinances. A town hall meeting yesterday was scheduled to determine whether the city should make modifications to the ordinance in the case of special flood hazard areas.

Proving hardship

Current city ordinances state that a certain amount of floodplain land must be set aside to absorb rain and runoff. If the city allows The Boulevard developer the desired variance, they would be able to legally ask for a variance in compensatory storage, a variance which is currently not allowed.

The current compensatory storage ration is 1.5:1, meaning that “If you put a truckload of fill [dirt] within a flood fringe area, you have to replace it with 1.5 truckloads of water storage," Jim Testin, community development director, told The Herald News . Testin said applicants would have to go through a public hearing and prove hardship to get a variance in compensatory storage.

The Boulevard’s attorney hopes the developer can get by with a 1:1 ratio in compensatory storage, but needs to do more engineering studies to determine if this proposal will work.

Weakening ordinance

Nelson is concerned that village staff will weaken its ordinance because Joliet uses a 1:1 ratio for compensatory storage.

"The implication here is that Plainfield is unduly conservative in its regulations regarding development in floodplains and that it should lower its standards to meet those of Joliet," Nelson said at the Nov. 5 board meeting. "But a little research has shown that Plainfield's current requirement for compensatory storage is exactly the same as comparable neighboring communities such as Yorkville, Bolingbrook, Romeoville, and Naperville. In fact, all communities in DuPage, Kane, and Cook counties operate under a ratio of 1.5:1.

"We feel that, at a time when storm water issues are of such importance to the village, the village board should consider carefully the wisdom of lowering its standards to meet those of Joliet," Nelson said.

Source: The Herald News; Joliet, Ill.