STORMWATER Trustees tackle flood problem, split on issue

One trustee believes the resolution needs more discussion before action is taken.
BOARDMAN -- Township trustees have taken a first step to address flooding caused by privately owned stormwater retention and detention systems that aren't well maintained.
At a meeting Monday, trustees approved first reading of a home rule resolution regulating the retention and detention systems. The township became home rule in 1998, providing more local control of issues.
Two readings are required before a resolution is enacted.
The regulations apply to privately owned retention/detention systems, said Curt B. Seditz, township administrator.
While townships can't legally pass resolutions pertaining to stormwater retention design, they can require the owners of private retention systems to maintain those systems, he said.
The resolution would impose penalties, $250 for a first offense, $500 for the second, $750 for a third and $1,000 for the fourth and subsequent offenses, for the owners of systems that are found to be littered with garbage or sedimentation or obstructed with weeds.
Dissenting opinion
Trustee Kathy Miller voted against the legislation, and Chairwoman Elaine Mancini and Tom Costello were in favor.
Miller said she believes the resolution should be discussed further and the public allowed to provide input before it's passed.
"I'm ready to act on it right now," Mancini said.
"With the spring rains about to hit, I think we would be remiss in not enacting this now," Costello added.
Miller said she has a lot of questions that aren't answered in the resolution.
"Who's doing the inspections? How often are they done? Are we going to wait until someone files a complaint?" she asked.
Condominium owners don't even know it's their responsibility to clean the retention/detention systems, Miller said.
She said she recently viewed a slide taken in the 1950s that shows flooding on Arlene Avenue. That street still floods today and the township hasn't addressed that problem, she said..
"We're very anxious to put responsibility on property owners and make them pay for things," Miller said.
Mancini said the regulations aren't for private property owners.
"The resolution deals with private retention done by developers that are building homes throughout the township," she said.
The resolution says that its intent is to require owners of the systems to maintain them "free and clear of obstructions, to promote free flow and drainage of property located within the township and to avoid flooding and related nuisances" in the township.

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