City/county receives stormwater grant

Published 12:03 pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FRANKLIN—The newly consolidated City of Franklin/Southampton County Department of Community Development recently received a grant to pay for the salaries of inspectors who will be reviewing property for the new stormwater regulations.

The new rules will go into effect July 1, 2014. The rules are more stringent, said community development deputy director Beth Lewis.

“Most of the changes involved pollution prevention and reduction, rather than bigger stormwater ponds,” Lewis said. “The rules help preserve the health of our rivers and streams, rather than holding onto more water.”

With the rules also come higher fees in stormwater inspections for developers and people building new commercial and residential properties. The City of Franklin got ahead of the game by adopting the new recommended fees. This is an attempt to pay for the salaries of the new inspectors who would have to be hired and trained.

“The grant was very fortuitous,” she said. “It was in the budget for both localities, the training and tech expenses that come with this venture, the grant is just supplanting that money — it gives us a little cushion.”

The fees for the rules in the county used to be $300 plus $5 an acre Lewis said. Now, inspections are much more stringent and are done on an annual basis, so the registration and coverage fees are higher. If you are clearing less than an acre of land, the fee is $290, Lewis said.

If you are clearing from one to five acres, it is $2,700, and it goes up from there, she said. For 5 to 10 acres, the fee is $3,400; 10 to 50 acres is $4,500; 50 to 100 acres is $6,100. More than 100 acres is $9,600 acres.

“Lets say, someone wants to come in, with less than five acres of land, and wants to build a small shopping center,” Lewis said. “It is $2,700 for the plan review and the inspections to go along with that.”

This year, the localities keep 100 percent of what the fees raise, but after July 1, the Department of Environmental Quality will receive 28 percent of the fees.