Ordinance concerning stormwater and impervious coverage passes at committee meeting

Measure aligns with state requirements on stormwater flow

Courtesy of Harrison Township. The new maximum for impervious coverage on residential and commercial properties in Mullica Hill was set at 35% earlier this month.

The Harrison Township Committee passed a new ordinance at its work session meeting earlier this month that centers on stormwater regulations and sets the impervious coverage percentage of a property at 35% maximum.

The ordinance was first introduced by the committee last month and a public hearing took place at its July 5 session.

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Impervious coverage refers to parts of a property, such as a residential or commercial lot, where stormwater does not flow naturally due to the presence of structures and additions made to a property – a sidewalk for instance – that can block water. The ordinance is meant to align with state requirements.

“We are making adjustments to align with what the state has told us and also address some of the issues that we’ve had in town,” said Mayor Louis Manzo, “where people have owned residential properties that may be on a smaller footprint, and they come in to do a patio or pool and they are in excess of what our ordinance says can be impervious coverage.”

The 35% maximum is an increase from the previous 15%. For the future, according to Manzo, residents will have to submit a plan to the joint land-use board showing where water will flow when a property improvement is made.

“Any future improvements will have to follow these guidelines,” said township engineer Dennis McNulty.

The coverage plan and guidelines were inspired by those in nearby towns, specifically Woolwich and East Greenwich townships. One resident at the committee’s public hearing voiced his concern about the new requirements related to the stormwater of new neighbors that flows to his property.

“Going forward,” said McNulty, “the individual landowner, whether it be a new development or an old one, they’re going to have to mitigate the increase in impervious (coverage) as the individual. If they’re going to have to add, say, a 20% increase from a pool or something, they’re going to have to brainstorm the impact on the infiltration of stormwater.”

The next committee meeting is scheduled for Monday July 17 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

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