Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman is concerned that after “severe problems with storm water in the past,” developers are still trying to squeak in their applications before the newest storm water ordinance takes effect.
At the City Council meeting Monday, the mayor asked city staff to look into moving the new storm water ordinance’s date of effect up.
The absolute earliest the ordinance could be implemented is one month from now, Hindman said. It would require three readings to pass an ordinance change.
The ordinance was approved unanimously at a council meeting in March, with a six-month extension for implementation. The extension was meant to allow developers who were already planning their projects to avoid the hardship of complying with the new ordinance and city staff to get acquainted with the new rules, Hindman said.
Hindman said he became concerned that developers might be trying to hurry their plans along in order to avoid the ordinance altogether, citing a Columbia Tribune article he had read.
“I don’t know if it’s actually the case,” Hindman said. “But we didn’t create an extension for developers to try to avoid the ordinance.”
David Nichols, Columbia public works manager for engineering and inspections, said he hadn’t heard anything from developers about trying to hurry things along, but he did say there were a lot of applications.
“As to why there are so many, I don’t really know,” he said. “But it would be easy to assume they are trying to avoid the ordinance.”
Columbia’s Planning and Development department currently has about 50 applications, Planning and Development director Tim Teddy said, which is similar to the number of applicants around this time last year.
“I’m sure there are particular projects applicants that would rather not have to comply with the new storm water ordinance,” Teddy said. “But I don’t think there’s more applications than normal.”