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Hearing set on stormwater codes, which would increase cost of new homes

Nov 04, 2013

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Salem City Council will hold a public hearing today on new stormwater regulations that protect the environment but increase the cost of new homes.

Under the proposed rules, new housing subdivisions would need to be designed with features to treat stormwater on site. In many cases, bioswales would be required. Bioswales are vegetated areas that capture pollutants and retain water so it can be released slowly.

Mike Erdmann, of the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, said the ordinance could add as much as $3,000 to the cost of a new home.

The federal government is compelling cities to strengthen regulations for managing stormwater runoff. Under the federal Clean Water Act, Salem must adopt a stormwater code by January 2014.

“We’re not terribly excited about it, but we recognize the city has no choice,” Erdmann said. The proposed rules are “about as workable as we might expect,” he said

Developers of commercial real estate projects also would be subject to a new set of rules for managing stormwater runoff.

Last week, the Salem Planning Commission held a public hearing on the issue and agreed to send the stormwater code to the city council.

Only one public hearing is required. Salem City Council, however, decided to hold a second public hearing before casting a vote.

In other council business:

• A plan to install an 18-inch water main between Trelstad Avenue SE and Turner Road SE is on the agenda. The project would help bring water service to the eastern portion of the Interstate 5 and Kuebler Boulevard interchange, an area that could be used for industrial development. City councilors will consider a resolution to begin negotiating for the acquisition of easements.

• Staff will seek council approval to apply for federal funds to finance five road improvement projects. The largest project, costing $2.7 million, would extend bike lanes and sidewalks under construction on Brown Road NE, north of San Francisco Drive NE. Plans call for sidewalks and bike lanes on Brown Road NE from San Francisco Drive NE, south to Sunnyview Road NE.


Reporter Michael Rose can be reached by Email at [email protected] or by phone at (503) 399-6657

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