Instead of having to start from scratch to construct stormwater controls when a property like a shopping center or apartment complex is redeveloped, the city’s engineering staff can now work with the owner on less costly options.
“These properties were required to address stormwater as if they were undeveloped land. In many cases, that would require tearing up existing parking areas, digging trenches and installing pipes at a significant expense to the property owner,” Councilman Rich Dippolito said.
In the case of a potential redevelopment of the shopping center at the northwest corner of Ga. Hwy 9 and Mansell Road, that kind of massive cash outlay acted as an impediment, Dippolito said.
There’s a big box space that has been empty for some time there and finding a new tenant had proved difficult. The solution was to redesign the entire shopping center, Dippolito said.
“They really love the property,” he said of the site owners, “and they wanted to take down buildings and rearrange the buildings on the site to make it work better to meet today’s demands.”
When the hefty costs for stormwater management for the redevelopment came to light, the owners met with Dippolito, a developer himself, to discuss if there was any way to mitigate the financial hit.
“Our public works and environmental staff suggested changes to the ordinance that will give property owners the option to use alternative storm water solutions that are environmentally friendly and more cost effective,” he said.
With input from Councilman Kent Igleheart, council liaison to public works, and Councilwoman Nancy Diamond, community development liaison, the code change was initiated. It passed council vote last week.
For the amended ordinance to be applicable to a property, city staff must ascertain that the stormwater from the property as it currently exists is not having negative impacts on the environment.