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Tighter regs on Waynesboro storm-water system approved

January 17, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - New regulations approved by the Waynesboro Borough Council Wednesday night will give the municipality tighter controls over how new development affects the problematic storm-water system.

The regulations come from Dennis E. Black Engineering, a Chambersburg, Pa., firm serving as the borough's consultant for repairs needed for the storm-water system prone to flooding homes and yards in quick and heavy rains.

The new ordinance require that storm-water management plans be submitted for any development creating 2,500 square feet of new impervious area like blacktop or roofs. Previously, the storm-water management plans are required for any development creating more than 5,000 square feet of impervious area.

The engineering firm had suggested the borough use 1,000 square feet as its new criteria, but the planning commission this week opted to recommend 2,500 square feet. Members said they had concerns that 1,000 square feet would unnecessarily involve homeowners making new driveways.

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Storm-water management plans can be costly, Borough Engineer Kevin Grubbs said.

"You could get a couple thousand dollars tied up in developing a plan if you're building a garage that's, say, 40 by 65. ... It's the upfront cost that you might not have or be able to finance," said Merle Holsinger, a civil engineer who has submitted storm-water management plans to the borough.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has said that it will someday require storm-water management plans for development with greater than 1,000 square feet of impervious area, according to Grubbs.

"From what we've been told, that'll be the thing of the future," he said.

Grubbs told the planning commission that the consultant's proposals were designed to slow the water coming off a property in rain. In many cases, the storm water would have to be detained and released slowly to prevent the system from being overloaded, he said.

Dennis E. Black Engineering had suggested that new development provide the same runoff that would be associated with a meadow.

"We're kind of stepping away from that. ... The planning commission didn't want to make it impossible for developers to develop their land," Grubbs said Tuesday.

All regulations apply to the borough as a whole, not just areas where the storm-water system has been known to malfunction, Grubbs said.

The borough council - which would be the board to ultimately adopt new development rules - has set aside money for storm-water system repairs and has been seeking outside funding sources. The council has authorized Grubbs to get quotes to fix an outfall near the intersection of South Church and Maple streets with either gabion baskets or a concrete aqueduct.

"We're dealing with an outdated system, and in some cases it's undersized.We know that," Grubbs said.

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