Storm Water Advisory Committee Recommends Phased Reduction of Commercial Fee Credits

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Storm Water Advisory Committee (SWAC) recently approved a recommendation that would gradually phase down storm water fee credits for hundreds of commercial property owners — a dramatic improvement over a staff proposal that would have reduced the credits much sooner.

Under SWAC’s recommendation, credits for all commercial properties would be capped at 86% for the next three years, after which the cap would drop to 72%. While this would result in higher stormwater fees for many commercial property owners, the increase would be much less than under the original proposal.

Presently, detention ponds that were built – and are being maintained – per the standards of the original Post-Construction Controls Ordinance (PCCO) are eligible for a 100% credit against stormwater fees. City and County staff had proposed immediately capping existing storm water fee credits for all commercial detention ponds at 71%, with no grandfathering for older properties.

Staff contends that a fee disparity exists, as on-site storm water ponds built under current regulations don’t receive sufficient credit for the additional flood control and surface water quality benefits they provide, compared to older basins constructed under the original requirements of the Post-Construction Controls Ordinance (PCCO).

The City estimates that roughly 350 properties will be impacted through lower fee credits, resulting in higher annual storm water fees for those property owners and their tenants.

REBIC opposed the original staff proposal, and been advocating for maintaining the existing fee credit for all eligible commercial properties that constructed, and are properly maintaining, detention ponds as required by the ordinance in place at the time they were developed. At the very least, we believe the fee credit reductions should be phased in over time, something staff argues is legally indefensible. We believe the SWAC recommendation is an acceptable compromise.

City Council’s Budget Committee will consider SWAC’s recommendation on Monday, February 8th.

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