Friday, May 27, 2022

Oak Island considers strengthening requirements to reduce residential impervious surface area

Oak Island's Planning Board reviewed amending its stormwater code to limit impervious surface area in new residential developments.

Oak Island is considering strengthening its stormwater code to reduce the total impervious surface area in new residential developments. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Google Maps)
Oak Island is considering strengthening its stormwater code to reduce the total impervious surface area in new residential developments. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Google Maps)

OAK ISLAND — The Town of Oak Island is considering amending its stormwater code to strengthen requirements that prevent runoff.

Under the proposed changes, single and two-family residential developments could not exceed more than 45 percent impervious surface area.

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Impervious surfaces are surfaces that prevent the absorption of water. An abundance of impervious surface area can prove problematic in heavy rain when properties cannot absorb water. This can increase stormwater runoff, which often includes pollutants, into surface waters.

Proposed changes

Oak Island’s stormwater code does not limit the amount of impervious surface area in new residential developments. Steve Edwards, Oak Island’s development services director, prepared the agenda item pitching the proposed changes, to be discussed next month by the Oak Island Planning Board.

According to Edwards, a development application “cannot be denied due to excessive impervious surface.”

Roofs, roads, driveways, and even dirt and gravel roads, are all considered impervious surfaces. Impervious surface area is calculated by combining the total impervious surface square footage on a parcel divided by the lot’s total lot square footage.

In 2016, 16 percent of new developments had greater than 45 percent impervious surface area. In 2017, 7.9 percent, and in 2018, 9.6 percent of new developments exceeded 45 percent impervious surface area. So far in 2019, two development permits exceed the proposed 45 percent limit, according to Edwards.

Changes will impact water quantity, according to Edwards’ item, potentially reducing the volume of runoff that reaches the town’s systems.

Proposed requirements would amend the stormwater section of Oak Island’s Zoning Ordinance. Under the proposed changes, applicants of single and multi-family developments must show total impervious surface area on site plans.

Existing developments would not be required to update stormwater controls. “Restrictive” stormwater regulations are already in place for commercial development, according to the item on the proposed changes.

Read the changes here, beginning on page 27. Oak Island’s Planning Board deferred discussing the topic on Feb. 21 to its March meeting.


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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