The committee set up to discover ways to reduce storm water runoff in Peoria held its last meeting of the year Wed. to present its findings and recommendations. But OneWater’s conversations are far from over.
OneWater’s proposed plan to pay for improvements to the city’s aging drainage infrastructure includes a fee based on a property’s impervious area, or non-absorbent surface, like black top.
The proposed monthly fee is $5 per 1,000 square feet. The committee cited examples -- like a car dealership with 106,988.9 square feet of impervious area would pay $535 monthly.
The plan also offers to reduce that cost, or give credits, to property owners that install “green” solutions, like rainwater barrels or permeable surfaces.
Peoria Public Works Director Mike Rogers says this is the most appropriate solution for fixing a problem that’s long overdue.
“The city has numerous issues that we’re dealing with every single day, we want to try to come up with a solution that will try to fix or at least have a positive impact in multiple areas.”
The OneWater Committee says the solution will increase economic opportunities for “green” construction projects and businesses.
Lynn Williams is part of the Golden Acres neighborhood association. She says she and her neighbors are concerned that the fines will hurt small business and those already struggling to pay their bills and property taxes.
“I don’t think the citizens of Peoria have been informed of how this will actually impact them in the long run," Williams said. "I think it’s been quietly presented to the city and who knows what the repercussions are going to be.”
The city has held multiple public input meetings soliciting comments and concerns from residents and business owners.
Rogers says the plan is far from becoming a final ordinance. It still needs a consent decree from the Federal Government to move forward. After that, Rogers says, there will be another round of public OneWater meetings.
“It’s not done. Matter of fact, nothing is going to be presented until we do have a consent decree. So, there still is time and we still want to have dialogue," Rogers said.
Rogers says he anticipates that OneWater should get the approval early next year.