Rahway River Advisory Board Offers Model Storm Water Management Ordinance To Mayors

UNION COUNTY The Rahway River Watershed Storm Water Advisory Board has introduced to the mayors that represent communities along the Rahway River a model storm water management ordinance that it hopes the communities will adopt.

The model ordinance proposal refocuses the storm water rules to emphasize further mitigation of any runoff that a new development might produce and to lower the square foot of affected planning and zoning applications. While each community had been required by the State of New Jersey to adopt a storm water management ordinance by 2005, the focus of that was on large lots greater than one acre. After a review of the 24 communities in the Rahway River Watershed it was determined that only a handful of communities currently have more comprehensive standards.

The Advisory Board decided to focus on the development of the new ordinance of best practices given the impacts of Irene and Sandy. While economic growth has to be encouraged in New Jersey including the addition of new jobs, responsible growth with better managing storm water has to go hand in hand with development.

The new proposed ordinance also focuses on mitigation measures including use of green infrastructure to reduce runoff by the use of rain gardens, rain barrels and other green mitigation practices. Applicants would be provided a menu of strategies to implement as part of any development application. The ordinance also recommends enforcement actions for non-compliance and requires mitigation maintenance.

While some communities are expected to be reluctant to adopt these new standards, the overdevelopment in the watershed has dumped significant runoff flooding neighborhoods and businesses. Another storm like Irene can still be expected to cause a similar amount of damage – over $100 million of damages occurred to residential and commercial properties as a result of Irene.

The Rahway River Watershed Storm water Advisory Board is a board created to focus attention on the issues surrounding better storm water management.

The board members include: Vaclav Benes (Millburn) , Bob Mc Coy (Maplewood) , Kirk Barrett (South orange) Jim Housten (Rahway) ,Eric Benson (Essex County) ,Alyson Miller (Springfield) ,Hortense Dias (Springfield) ,C Lijoi, (Summit); Carol Berns (Cranford) , Ed OMalley (Cranford) , David Schwartzberg (Fanwood) , Frank Klapinski (Cranford),Jennifer Duckworth (Millburn and Essex County) , Mike Brick (West Orange) Ed Budney (Union) Betty Ann Kelly (Union County) Kaitalin Gordon (Orange) and John Hrebin (Cranford). The board advisors are Lynda Feder (Rahway River Association) Leo Coakley(Hatch Mott engineering); Julie Lange Groth (ANJEC).Kathy Murray and Sergio CapozziRRA)

The Rahway River Storm Water Advisory Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at Rahway Library next to City Hall. It will be open to the public.

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