Emerald Isle to look at stormwater plan proposals

The town expects to improve its stormwater management ordinance soon in order to lessen the chances of floods like this one at the entrance to Spinnaker’s Reach after a thunderstorm in June. (Brad Rich photo)

EMERALD ISLE — Town commissioners Tuesday night will consider seven proposals to develop a stormwater management plan.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and instructions to participate in the electronic meeting will be posted on the town website, emeraldisle-nc.org.

Town Manager Matt Zapp said Thursday staff has thoroughly reviewed the proposals and will present the highest-ranked of them to the commissioners Tuesday.

“If the board selects an engineering firm,” he said, “staff will work to develop a contract and establish pricing for engineering services related to a comprehensive stormwater plan. The goal will be to bring a contract forward for (board) consideration” during the Tuesday meeting.

If a contract is approved at that meeting, Mr. Zapp said, development of the plan will take eight to 12 months.

Any changes in the town’s stormwater rules would require a public hearing and approval by the town board of commissioners.

Part of the reason changes are needed, town Planning Director Josh Edmondson told the planning board earlier this year, is that “about 70 percent of the lots” in town have been built upon and those that remain undeveloped are more marginal in terms of suitability.

In addition, he said, redevelopment that has been occurring generally replaces smaller old homes with larger ones, increasing impervious surface that causes more stormwater runoff.

It’s not likely all problems can be fixed, Mr. Edmondson said, in part because the water table on the island is generally high.

The town already has tougher standards than the minimum state standard, which requires a property owner to retain on his or her own property the first 1.5 inches of any rainfall event. Emerald Isle requires retention and infiltration of the first 2 inches of rain.

Still, there is significant flooding in some areas, particularly in the Coast Guard Road corridor, after many significant storms, and officials have acknowledged the problems now occur more frequently and in less severe storms.

It’s one of the most frequent complaints from property owners.

The town has a number of stormwater collection systems that pump water to Emerald Isle Woods Park off Coast Guard Road.

There is also a closed system that serves the Coast Guard Road corridor.

The town has its own pumps, but occasionally brings in portable pumps before expected heavy rainfall events, such as tropical storms and hurricanes.

There also are private stormwater management systems, such as the retention ponds in the Land’s End development off Coast Guard Road.

Planning board members Monday night agreed the issue needs to be addressed, to reduce flooding and the amount of polluted stormwater that flows into canals and Bogue Sound.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

(2) comments

David Collins

Hint ! Water flows down hill , got it ?

mpjeep

And it won't flow up hill without a pump.

Welcome to the discussion.

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