Round two for stormwater bylaw

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Round two for stormwater bylaw

Changes to the town’s stormwater bylaws mandated by the state will be further reviewed by the Board of Public Works after a number of concerns were raised.

Public Works Director Mark Hollowell said the decision had been made to pull back the bylaw and present it again to the Bylaw Subcommittee and Town Council. 

“We’re going to work on the language, change the things we think need to be changed,” he said at the Bylaw Subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18. “We figured it would be cleanest to pull this.”

The bylaw was first presented to the council on Aug. 26 and reviewed again on Sept. 11. Among the issues raised were permits needed to own sump pumps, an appointed Stormwater Authority, and inspections that some felt were intrusive. Hollowell said the Conservation Commission has offered its support of the bylaw, but others have not yet weighed in, another reason hi cited for further review.

Hollowell added exemptions exist regarding sump pumps. If a resident owns one and it discharges into their backyard, there is no reason for an inspection. It’s when they go into a drainage system of the street that further action is needed. Home inspections will require giving notice to the homeowner. 

The new bylaw also has regulations relating to projects that cause a certain amount of property disturbance. These would be limited to projects with a land disturbance greater than 10,000 square feet, but under half an acre, and those greater than half an acre. For the projects with the smaller disturbed area, an administrative review would be needed—for the latter, a land disturbance permit is required. Improvements to the average single-family home [such as a new garage or swimming pool] would not require review under this bylaw. 

The bylaw calls for stormwater management systems to remove 90 percent of total suspended solids over impervious surfaces, and 60 percent of the annual load of phosphorous. In addition, these systems must include plans to address Pollutants of Concern and construction sites need to be inspected for erosion controls. 

Acting Town Manager Michael Gallagher said the new bylaw will be reviewed by the Conservation Commission and Board of Public Works.

“My recommendation would be then to refer it back to the subcommittee before we bring it out to any public hearing,” he said.