Thursday, July 18, 2024

New Hanover County considering addition of stormwater utility for unincorporated areas

Impermeable surfaces at low sea levels cause flooding and stormwater problems all around the Cape Fear Region (Port City Daily photo/Michael Praats)
Impermeable surfaces at low sea levels exacerbate flooding and stormwater problems all around the county, which is why officials are considering a stormwater management utility  (Port City Daily photo/Michael Praats)

WILMINGTON — Stormwater management is a hot topic around the Cape Fear region, especially following Hurricane Florence and the massive amount of flooding that followed. Now, New Hanover County is considering the addition of a new utility to help maintain stormwater throughout the unincorporated areas.

According to a county press release, “New Hanover County is exploring the implementation of a stormwater utility for property owners in the unincorporated areas of the county. A stormwater utility would help ensure the continued use and upkeep of the stormwater management system throughout the county and relieve property owners of the burden of maintaining and cleaning ditches and pipes within easements on their property.”

Of course, nothing is free and the addition of a new service would require a new fee that would be applied to residents living in unincorporated areas of the county.

“A new utility fee would support these services and only apply to property owners in the unincorporated area of the county. It would not include the City of Wilmington or the county’s beach towns. To learn more and see a map of the unincorporated area, click here,” according to the release.

“A stormwater utility would allow the county to manage stormwater runoff to help reduce flooding and impacts to water quality,” said County Engineer Jim Iannucci. “It would create a flexible way to plan and pay for resilient water management practices, and allow New Hanover County to provide a higher level of service to our residents and businesses.”

The addition will not take place without public; a meeting will be held on June 16 for stakeholders at the Government Center located at 230 Government Center Drive.

Meetings will take place at the following times:

  • 9 am: Large landholders and developers
  • 11 am: Non-profits and churches
  • 2 pm: Commercial property owners
  • 4 pm: General public

“Residents who live in the unincorporated area of the county are encouraged to attend the 4 p.m. meeting to get information that is tailored to residential properties, but all meetings will be open to the public. Registration is not required. This is the first step in the county’s outreach about a new stormwater utility, and additional community meetings will be scheduled as the process moves forward. If a stormwater utility fee is approved, it would go into effect in July 2020,” the release concludes.


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