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Friday, June 25, 2010

Scant Interest By Public At Stormwater Management Hearing

County Stormwater Management Plan Nearing Adoption

stormwaterrunoffPotter County’s stormwater management ordinance is nearing a vote by the Board of Commissioners. A handful of township supervisors and a real estate developer attended a public hearing on the plan, held on Thursday, June 24, at the Gunzburger Building. The document has been developed over the past two-plus years by the county’s Planning Commission, an engineer, and a team of township and borough leaders.

A major component is a requirement that certain land developments be accompanied by measures to control water runoff, to reduce flooding and to protect water quality. Arrangements could include everything from rain gardens and dry wells and planting trees.

Under the draft plan, developments that create non-permeable surfaces (primarily building foundations and paved areas) up to 5,000 square feet would be exempt from meeting standards for stormwater management.

Barry Newman, chief of stormwater planning and management for the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, indicated at Thursday’s hearing that DEP would likely approve the 5,000-sq.-ft. exemption after initially recommending a cutoff of 2,500 square feet. DEP has 90 days to accept the county’s plan, after which time it will be sent to all Potter County townships and boroughs for adoption within 60 days.

Pa. Act 167 requires each county to develop standards to prevent flooding, soil erosion, road damage and related problems from improperly directed stormwater. Phase I of Potter County’s plan pinpointed some 125 areas where water runoff is being deflected in an irresponsible and/or hazardous manner. Phase II is the management plan now before the commissioners.

Townships and boroughs must administer the ordinance locally, according to Planning Director Charlotte Dietrich, who has been working with a consulting firm, Herbert, Rowland and Grubic (HRG). Majority of the funding for the plan has come from the state.

Copies of the Potter County Stormwater Management Plan are available by contacting the Planning Office at 274-8254. The plan can also be accessed on the internet by clicking here.

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