Plan would regulate building near water

Austintown plans similar action within the next couple of months.
BOARDMAN -- The township has taken a first step in implementing a plan to regulate building near streams and other watercourses, aimed at curbing flooding.
The township zoning commission this week forwarded to the Mahoning County Planning Commission a resolution regulating riparian setbacks.
The commission is expected to hear the resolution later this month, after which it will return to the zoning commission to either recommend approval or rejection.
The final determination will be made by township trustees likely in February or early March, said Darren Crivelli, zoning inspector.
Michael P. Kurilla Jr., Austintown zoning inspector, said his township will soon follow suit.
He plans to attend the planning commission meeting where Boardman's resolution will be presented to inform the commission that "Austintown endorses the concept and that we'll be coming right on the heels of Boardman."
Kurilla hopes Austintown's resolution will be presented to the planning commission in February or March.
The regulations would restrict building within a certain distance from a watercourse, such as a stream. The distance is based on the size of the watershed into which a watercourse drains.
The larger the watershed, the greater the distance from a watercourse required to build.
The zoning commission's action follows a meeting late last year with all Mahoning County township officials led by Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, Mahoning County engineer's office, and the Alliance for Watershed Action and Riparian Easements.
The panel released a sample ordinance aimed at implementing zoning tools to control flooding. Each township was then able to tweak it to meet its individual needs.
Aside from flood control, the riparian setbacks, or property next to a watercourse within which building can't occur, also would limit stream bank erosion and reduce water pollution, officials have said.
The setbacks would restrict development of homes and other buildings from the path of a water course.
Riparian setbacks are part of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's best management practices aimed at reducing sediment in streams.

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