City Council reviews land use rules

Marietta City Council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee heard a presentation on proposed revisions and updates to the city’s land development and water quality ordinances Tuesday afternoon.

Eric Lambert, project manager with the city engineering department, gave an overview of the purpose and intent of the land development ordinance.

“The ordinance allows development in a manner that minimizes increases in sedimentation and erosion, minimizes dangers to public health and safety, and minimizes damages to property,” he said.

Lambert said the revised land development ordinance would streamline and simplify the development process by providing more clarity and promoting better dialogue with developers within the city of Marietta.

“This also provides for a means of enforcement of our ordinance, so it’s more than just words on paper,” he said.

The proposed legislation would assess penalties for violations of the land development ordinance if needed, Lambert explained.

He said the current land development ordinance needs updated because it is not compatible with a model water quality ordinance required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the current ordinance is written in a manner that makes revisions and updates difficult.

Kathy Davis with the Washington Soil and Water Conservation District, helped develop the model water quality ordinance.

“The model sets minimum standards for water quality and mirrors the Ohio EPA’s water quality standards for developers to obtain a general construction permit,” she said.

The proposed water quality ordinance sets regulations to prevent pollution of stormwater drainage systems and streams within the city as well as provides for enforcement and penalties for violations of the ordinance.

Lambert said the land development and water quality ordinance upgrades are required by the Ohio EPA after the city received a letter last June from Aaron Wolfe with the EPA’s storm water section. In that letter Wolfe said without the ordinance changes the city could be found in violation of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

The NPDES permit is required for operation of the city’s wastewater plant and stormwater drainage systems.

“The main change to the ordinances will be addition of the enforcement and penalties sections,” Lambert said.

Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, who chairs the water, sewer and sanitation committee, said the proposed water quality ordinance is much easier to understand than the current regulations.

Councilman Michael Mullen, I-at large, agreed.

“I would hope the object of these upgrades is to make the ordinance more user-friendly and easier for developers to understand,” he said.

Davis said she believed the proposed ordinances would do that.

Planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee chairman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, suggested the committee members read through the proposed legislation and continue the discussion during another committee meeting next week.

In other business Tuesday, city engineer Joe Tucker said three major projects in the Pike Street corridor would be under construction this spring.

The Pike, Acme and Jefferson streets intersection upgrade is scheduled to begin April 1, followed by the traffic and pedestrian safety upgrade at the intersection of Seventh, Pike and Greene streets in mid May, he said.

In addition Tucker said work on an unfinished 2013 paving project along Pike Street between those two intersections would begin May 1. He said the Ohio Department of Transportation had extended the date for completion of the project to 2014 for paving contractor Shelly & Sands.