Nov 21, 2007

Runoff Rules May Be Revised

Asheville, N.C. may increase storm water rule violation fines from $5,000 to $25,000 per day.

Under a new proposal, Buncombe County, N.C., may be fining developers up to $25,000 per day for violating storm water rules put in place to prevent runoff.

Currently, the county’s storm water ordinances charge fines of up to $5,000 a day. Put in place in 2006, the ordinance was designed to prevent mud and water from running off development sites and harming neighboring properties.

“I don’t have a problem with fining people if they don’t do what they’re supposed to do,” Commissioner Bill Stanley told the Asheville Citizen-Times. “I think the fine ought to be severe enough to get them to do it right the first time.”

Commissioners Chairman Nathan Ramsey disagrees. “I would think $5,000 a day would be an adequate incentive for any development to do anything they could to come under compliance,” he said.

The current ordinance requires developers to catch runoff, often through the creation of retention ponds. The proposed changes would enhance this ordinance to align the county with state guidelines, according to Mike Goodson, county storm water administrator.

The first of its kind in western North Carolina, the storm water rules require developers--both residential and commercial development--distrubing an acre or more of land to be ready to control 3 in. of rain during a 24-hour period.