County discusses proposed changes to Natural Hazard Ordinance

The Winnebago County Board Zoning Committee discussed proposed changes to the 30-year-old Natural Hazard Ordinance during its July 26 meeting. Winnebago County Senior Civil Engineer Rick Mohaupt said the amendments aren’t earth-shattering: “We aren’t leading the charge with new and wonderful regulations.”

Renaming the ordinance is among the changes, Mohaupt said. The Natural Hazard Ordinance could become the Surface Water Management Ordinance. He said the new name helps people better understand the ordinance’s purpose.

“If it’s working well, the guy downstream doesn’t even notice,” Mohaupt said.

According to Mohaupt, “administrator” will replace “superintendent,” to include building officials. Including them will enhance efficiency, since building officials issue construction permits.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) mandated sediment and erosion control requirements—for areas 1-acre or more—in March 2003. Adding those requirements are among the amendments, which would bring Winnebago County into compliance. Mohaupt said, for example, the sediment control requirements would keep silt from clogging pipes, ditches and water retention areas.

Those requirements would only apply to construction sites, he said. According to Mohaupt, communities including Loves Park, Machesney Park, Rockton, Roscoe and South Beloit would be required to meet the requirements, though he stressed the county only has jurisdiction over unincorporated areas.

Mohaupt said developers must submit notices of intent to the IEPA, but noted the agency doesn’t review those notices. He said it was better for local agencies to be given that task.

In other action, committee members approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on zoning ordinance amendments to Section 90-57 regarding Planned Community Developments. One of the amendments would create a Planned Community Development district.

The resolution came before the Winnebago County Board during its July 27 meeting for a first reading and was ultimately laid over. A decision is expected at the County Board’s Aug. 10 meeting. If approved, the Winnebago County Zoning Board of Appeals must post a legal notice 15 days prior to the proposed public hearing.

“It’s all in the early stages,” County Planner David DeGroot said.

From the Aug. 2-8, 2006, issue

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