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County needs stormwater controls

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POSTED: August 9, 2010 2:36 p.m.
Could a countywide stormwater ordinance help Bryan County better protect its natural resources from development and all that comes with it?
Some government planners think so. And county commissioners got an introduction to the idea at Tuesday’s meeting, courtesy of the Coastal Regional Commission.
That group has been working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to develop a plan that will help local governments implement sound policies on development.
The aim of the Coastal Stormwater Supplement is to encourage the use of “green infrastructure strategies” that will be more sensitive to the environment.
The idea seems to be that such strategies will not only promote a more earth-friendly way of development, but also make sense financially by recognizing the importance of natural resources. After all, folks aren’t attracted to Bryan County because of urban or suburban blight. Rather, they come because of the natural beauty that exists in both North and South Bryan.
Or, as the CRC notes, natural areas increase nearby property values, attract businesses and residents, support tourism, offer opportunities for recreation and are just plain nice to look at.
Not to mention there’s an important ecological value in wetlands, forests and stream buffers. They help clean water and our air, recharge aquifers, protect drinking water supplies and provide habitat for plants and animals.
Understandably, there are concerns that enacting a local stormwater ordinance along the lines envisioned by the CRC could be more costly to developers already struggling in a down economy. But the CRC counters development under such regulations wouldn’t be any more expensive in part because there will be less land disturbance and mitigation.
That will be a factor once the economy rebounds and the projected growth coming our way resumes. After all, projections showing some 800,000 people will call coastal Georgia home over the 20 years, so finding ways to find growth that can be sustained while maintaining the area’s charm is vital.
It’s in our best interest – and that of generations to come – to do whatever is possible to protect those resources now, rather than wait until it’s too late and then wish we had.

 

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