30 Oct

Storm (and not the kind that involves water) at Planning Commission

Monday, October 26 the Planning and Development Review Commissions held a joint work session to discuss the new Stormwater Code and Manual. It was, in a nutshell, a storm but not the kind that involves water. Once Staff provided its review the Commissioners went to work. In general their comments were in three areas.
There was general agreement that the “triggers” (those points that invoke complying with the rules) were too low. At a project of 200 square feet or more the starting point means almost every property making an impervious surface change will be included.Note it is a change, not an addition. So, if you replace your driveway you must comply.
Staff’s response was that the TDML requires this. Not true, in fact, the TDML sets no requirements with respect to square footage or triggers. Staffs own presentation stated that even MS4 (municipal stormwater permit) only requires projects over 3000 square feet be dealt with.
The Commissioners are rightly concerned with the costs to citizens. If a project of over 200 square feet (such as a 10 foot by 20 foot new patio) takes place ALL the new stormwater requirements come into play. This could require hiring an engineer and/or a landscape architect to design the stormwater retention that is needed under the new code.
The proposal requires that “deed restrictions” (later corrected by counsel as Covenants) must be filed with the County and carried with the deed to ensure that the system is maintained. The details of the proposal were labeled as “onerous” by some Commissioners. One asked if there is no added impervious surface just replacement, why do we need requirements?”
Unfortunately, it appears most of the Commissioners comments fell on deaf ears. Staff replied to many comments with some form of the regulations require this. We sincerely doubt this. But the Commissioners asked for information which Staff did not have – what are neighboring communities doing? When this information is presented or sent to Commissioners, it will likely show that Lake Oswego has once again gone way beyond what others are doing. And that isn’t right is it?
We urge you to understand the issues and either write to the Planning Commission (PlanningCommission@LakeOswego.city) or go the meeting on November 23rd at 6:30 PM and make your comments in person (fill out a slip and hand it to the clerk). It is very important to make your opinion known.
What do you think? Leave us a comment here. Write a letter to the editor of the Review here:

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