Stormwater fees, litter resolution approved

By Kathy Helms-Hughes


   The implementation of federally mandated Stormwater Phase II regulations comes with a price, and anyone undertaking new construction in Carter County is going to feel the pinch.
   The Carter County Planning Commission approved a schedule of stormwater fees Tuesday which will apply to permits for construction of divided properties, commercial and residential construction, as well as grading fees for any ground-disturbing activities.
   The new fee schedule will be submitted to the Carter County Commission in April for its approval. The commission approved a stormwater resolution in February after learning that the county could be denied state and federal grant money if it did not comply with implementation of Stormwater Phase II. The new regulations affect pre- and post-construction on sites of one acre to five acres.
   The purpose of the resolution is to conserve land, water and other natural resources by establishing requirements for control of stormwater, erosion and sedimentation and to prevent degradation of water quality which could result from runoff of excessive stormwater and associated pollutants. The new regulations also would reduce flooding and overloading of the county's stormwater system.
   Under the new regulations, any land-disturbing activity will require a grading permit, at a fee of $50 per project. Home builders would be required to obtain a grading permit if they plan to do any excavation, as well as a construction permit ranging from $50 for homes 1,999 square feet or less, to $150 for homes 5,000 square feet or more. A building permit fee ranging from $25 to $100, depending on square footage, also would be required. The fees also are applicable to mobile homes.
   Construction fees for commercial, industrial or utility-type projects are based on total value of the project. For example, a developer planning to construct an industrial facility estimated at $250,000 or more would pay $2,500 for a commercial construction permit. On the low end, a project estimated to be worth up to $49,999 would require a construction permit set at $1,000. In addition, building permit fees ranging from $100 for projects up to $49,999, to $250 for projects estimated at $250,000 or more, also would be required.
   Permits for development of divided property, or new subdivisions, range from $75 for less than an acre to $2,500 for development of 100 acres or more.
   The Planning Commission left unchanged a $1,000 fee for communication tower site plan review and $500 for co-location of cell towers. Flood plain development fees also are already assessed by the county but are now amended to be set the same as commercial and residential construction fees.
   In addition, planners approved a $25 Board of Zoning Appeals fee, a $50 rezoning request fee, and a $100 fee for subdivision plat review.
   In other action Tuesday, a countywide litter control resolution was approved and now will be submitted to the County Commission in April for final approval. The resolution was adopted as originally proposed with the exception of changes to the designation of a hearing board which will hear appeals.
   According to the amended resolution, a hearing board will be designated by the County Commission. Planners will recommend that the Health and Welfare Committee serve as the hearing board. In the alternative, the commission could choose to set up a new hearing board or the Planning Commission could serve in this function.
   The hearing board will have the authority to enforce litter regulations and will be authorized to take such action as may be necessary to carry out enforcement, including the instigation of criminal and civil lawsuits.
   The amended resolution also gives the Planning Commission the authority to establish any rules and regulations necessary for administration and enforcement of the resolution.
   Planners also unanimously approved a plan to charge a $1,000 fee for site plan review of new salvage yards or expansion of existing salvage yards, and also gave final approval to a 13-lot J.C. Campbell Subdivision on Laurels Road.