The Story of Betty and Joe elicited this response from a reader:
"This depicts exactly what life will be like for those in Lake Oswego on fixed incomes - about one third of the residents. Some have adequate funds to deal with the new regulations but many do not. But perhaps most important of all the new regulations will do very little to solve the pollution problem at which they are directed! Why? Because only a few hundred homes a year will be required to make these changes. It will take 40 years or more to cover all homes in Lake Oswego. is that a real solution?????" on The story of Betty and Joe
Response: "It will take 40 years or more to cover all the homes in Lake Oswego." Of course, Gerry's right. But only if this is the end of stormwater regulations for residential areas. Now try to imagine a bureaucracy that stopped making new rules. You can't do it, can you?
In the October 26, Planning Commission study session, on page 1 of Attachment 1 of draft of the Stormwater Management Manual, the engineering department commented, "City staff believe that Stormwater requirements should be applied to all impervious surfaces on a site, not just the incremental increase of impervious surface."
However the public or our politicians think, at least it is clear what the staff thinks.
By now, he biggest polluters of our waterways have been taken care of. What is left are smaller and smaller pieces of the pie that are increasingly more difficult and expensive to deal with. Logic is not the bureaucrat's best friend.
At the Planning Commission public hearing on November 23, person after person came forward to attest to the fact that rain gardens don't work and now expensive they are. The same information is available to the engineers, but nothing is ever said about the downside to this infrastructure, and their estimates of potential costs were remarkably lower than what the construction professionals who testified quoted.
While Lake Oswego is not off the hook to create some regulations that comply with the General MS4 permit, there is a choice about how strict the city should be.
Should Lake Oswego require property owners to install infiltration systems when they build or replace 500 SF, 1,000 SF, 3,000 SF, 5,000 SF of impervious surface? (The 5,000 SF number may be very difficult as LO's current limit is 3,000 SF.) Should the City err on the side of the environment and assume the stormwater systems work? OR should the City consider what residents will have to deal with and adopt the least restrictive regulations possible? (Note - even the least restrictive will catch too many and cost too much.) Should the City lobby the state legislature to back off on the regulatory burdens it is forcing on citizens? Finally, should the City do more to install public infrastructure that would take the burden off of private property owners?
I think readers will know my answers to these questions. What are yours? Let the City Council know what you think.
It's our city after all.