Columbia stormwater changes sent back to the drawing board

Jun 5, 2012

Proposed changes to a stormwater ordinance in Columbia are not happening, after years of discussion.  

 At last Monday's city council meeting the stormwater commission board members worked with city staff members to narrow down an original 17 amendments to a more manageable five. 

An amendment regarding site size garnered the most feedback from Columbia residents and even resulted in another proposed change from Mayor Bob McDavid.  His amendment to the amendment clarified that the term site should be considered as land disturbed instead of lot size. 

This clarification would allow Columbia residents to improve small portions of land without having to adhere to the major stormwater ordinances. Some developers say these restrictions result in unnecessary costs.

Many voiced concerns over the definition of the word "site": “It should be based in these situations on the amount of land being disturbed rather than the entire parcel when there’s a whole block and just a small part of it being modified its really important that the over an acre doesn’t come to bear,” said Community improvement district representative Carrier Gartner.

Gartner says she is aware that stormwater needs to be dealt with but there are terms that need to be better-defined in order to complete the new ordinance. 

After residents voiced their concerns, Mayor McDavid agreed saying he could not support moving along with the changes unless new changes are made. "We can do better," he said.  "You know we’ve come a long way and in my opinion we can do better."

McDavid says he is open to hearing proposed future changes to the ordinance.