New Drainage Ordinance in Sussex County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Drainage Ordinance in Sussex County

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - The Sussex County Council unanimously approved a new ordinance that aims to alleviate stormwater flooding in residential developments across the county.

The new ordinance replaces outdated construction standards, adds detailed requirements for road, sidewalk and runoff construction and puts more checks on developers. For example. now all drainage requirements must be met before developers can proceed in their project.

Sussex County Engineer Hans Medlarz says the ordinance simplifies the process.

"It brings all parties on the same page," he tells WBOC. "The engineers, the homeowner, the developer, the builder, the regulatory side--whether it's the conservation district or the county--they are all on the same page because we now have the same playbook."

County officials say the ordinance is not retroactive--meaning it won't impact current developments--but says this ordinance is a way to prevent issues in future developments. It also includes more stringent rules for amenities. Under the new ordinance, amenities must be bonded and identified in a phase, and a developer cannot proceed past a promised phase. For example, if a development has ten phases, and amenities are in phase five, the county will now forbid them from moving to phase six until five is completed. However, if the developer chooses to stop at stage four, they won't be held to to that.

Medlarz says this ordinance has more levels of enforcement built into it as well.

"The building permit issuance office will have assistance in the close out," he says "The public works department will have assistance in the review of the final grading plan. So if you take the two together, the final product is better drainage for the constituents."

The ordinance takes place in various stages--some immediately, and some won't begin until April 2017.

To read the ordinance, click here.

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