Kent County Levy Court commissioners have approved a new stormwater maintenance ordinance

In a session that lasted less than 20 minutes, Kent County Levy Court’s seven commissioners on Tuesday approved both a new ordinance establishing stormwater maintenance districts within the county and setting up a system to collect money to maintain those districts.

Stormwater districts are designed to relieve county homeowners of the responsibility for long term upkeep of ditches, ponds and other infrastructure elements that collect and direct rain and other large amounts of water that may come into a subdivision or development.

The regulation automatically applies to new subdivisions greenlighted after the ordinance was approved. Property owners within established subdivisions and other developments may petition the county to be included in a district.

Commissioner Eric Buckson introduced the ordinance in December and held a public hearing on Jan. 28. However, a number of issues came up during the hearing that caused commissioners to table final action until a number of amendments were written and considered.

One of those amendments specified that after Levy Court and the Kent Conservation District sign an agreement for routine maintenance activities within a stormwater district, either may separately contract with a private firm to undertake maintenance and improvement projects.

The ordinance was approved by a unanimous vote.

Minutes later, following a public hearing in which no one spoke out against the proposal, commissioners voted unanimously on a separate ordinance that established stormwater maintenance fees. Individual residential lots and/or living units would be charged $28 during Fiscal Year 2014, while businesses and residential users having 33 or less dwelling units would be charged $1,012.50 annually. Those having 33 or more units would be charged $32.40 per dwelling unit.