Dec 13, 2018

Chattanooga, Tenn., Considers Development Storm Water Regulations

The regulations would address commercial and residential development for storm water runoff

Chattanooga, Tenn., considers storm water regulations for developers
Chattanooga, Tenn., considers storm water regulations for developers

Chattanooga, Tenn., city planning staff have proposed guidelines aimed at addressing overdevelopment, as well as storm water runoff and erosion occurring in consequence. The proposed guidelines generally have been accepted by developers, but are facing backlash from concerned residents who argue the guidelines are not enough to make an impact.

A temporary resolution announced in November would allow grading or clearing on no more than 20% of any property where the slope is 33% or greater and limit clearing and filling to 50% in a floodplain. However, developers said those guidelines were too still and would damage the homebuilding industry, as reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In response, the planning staff created new guidelines, which are being called by residents as not stringent enough.

The new guidelines include that any retaining walls should be constructed prior to construction of the main building, unless a waiver is issued from the Land Development Office. Sites that require an erosion control plan and are located in a floodplain should be designed by a registered engineer. Additionally, after a land disturbance permit is issued on a site with steep slopes, the foundation footing inspections should occur only once the onsite erosion control measures are inspected and in good standing.

“Homebuilders don’t have to deal with the consequences of it and that worries me,” said Heather DeGaetano, member of Chattanoogans for Responsible Development. “The costs of dealing with erosion and runoff gets put on the city, and the city has little funding to handle it.”

The planning council hopes to have the final language of the proposal cleared by the city attorney so the proposal can be discussed by council members at an upcoming strategic planning session.