Public hearing on Spencer’s stormwater utility tonight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SPENCER — The second public hearing for Spencer’s proposed stormwater utility ordinance will be tonight during the Board of Aldermen meeting.

The utility would provide funding, through fees paid by residents and businesses, to cover the costs associated with improving and maintaining the town’s stormwater system.

Stormwater systems handle rainfall that doesn’t soak into the soil. Drains in a street curb or in a parking lot are part of the system.

Currently, funds for work on the town’s stormwater system come from Spencer’s Public Works Department. But town officials have said the system needs millions of dollars in work. Establishing a stormwater utility would create a separate fund solely for the stormwater system.

If the ordinance is eventually implemented, Land parcels that have a single-family residential unit would be charged a flat rate — likely around $5 month.

Commercial parcels will be charged based on the amount of impervious surface area — roofs, sidewalks, walkways, patios, driveways, parking lots, etc. —  the property has.

The board had an initial public hearing on the stormwater ordinance in January. At the time, Alderman Scott Benfield said the town’s stormwater system has been an issue for years and that several streets around town flood during heavy rains.

Three people spoke against the utility during January’s public hearing. After they spoke, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gobbel said the town hasn’t done a good enough job of educating residents about what the stormwater utility is and why it’s needed.

The board meets at 7 p.m at town hall.

In other business, the board will:

• hold a public hearing regarding an ordinance amending the original ordinance for the town’s Community Appearance Commission in order to place the commissions under the town’s zoning ordinance — it currently falls under the administrative side of the town’s Code of Ordinances.

• take up two ordinances regarding the by-laws for the town’s Historic Preservation Commission. The first ordinance would permit the chair and vice chair of the commission to serve no more than three terms in either office. The second ordinance amends the commission’s by-laws by requiring a “yes” vote of four members of the commission in order to change the by-laws.

• take up an ordinance amending part of the town’s Code of Ordinances to include a definition — 30 days — for the temporary use of commercial dumpsters in residential districts.

• vote whether to approve a street resurfacing list. The Public Works Department has identified streets in need of resurfacing projects. The department is recommending three street sections that should take priority: North Yadkin Avenue from Jefferson Street to Cain Street, Whitehead Avenue from Jefferson Street to Forestdale Drive and 2nd Street from Whitehead Avenue to Charles Street.

Fourth Street is actually in the most need, according to public works, but due to stormwater concerns it has been designated as a long-term project.

Contact Reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264.