February 13, 2018

MEMO TO:        Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:             Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:       Ordinance Amending Chapter 6 – Development Standards – of the Unified Development Ordinance Regarding Federal and State Authorization for Wetland and Pond Fill - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the attached amendment to the Town’s Unified Development Ordinance that simply clarifies the need for Federal and/or State authorization for the filling of wetlands and/or ponds.  A public hearing is required before formal Board consideration of the ordinance amendment, and has been scheduled for the February 13 meeting.  (See Attachments 1, 2, 3)

The Town’s ordinance currently (and has for many years) allows the filling of up to 1,000 sq. ft. of wetlands and/or ponds without any requirement to replace the filled area.  The Town’s ordinance also allows the filling of additional wetlands beyond 1,000 sq. ft., but requires the replacement of an equal area on site or elsewhere in Emerald Isle.  The Board should note that the Town’s ordinance is slightly more stringent than some Federal and/or State regulations, which may allow greater fill area (generally 1/10 of an acre, or 4,356 sq. ft.).  The Board should also note that the Town also requires all new development, even at the single-family home level, to essentially infiltrate all storm water runoff from the first 2 inches of rainfall, which is also more stringent than many other communities.

All Town development ordinances are administered on the assumption that all applicable Federal and State permits are also required in order to secure a Town permit, however a recent issue led to confusion about which wetlands and/or ponds require Federal and/or State permits in order for fill to be added.  In an effort to clarify the Town’s ordinance, Town Planner Josh Edmondson discussed this issue with the Planning Board recently, which concurred with the need to simply clarify that Federal and/or State authorization for the filling of wetlands and/or ponds is required under the Town’s ordinance.

The attached memo from Town Planner Josh Edmondson includes additional explanation of this issue, including a discussion of Federal and State agency regulations.

I recommend approval of the attached ordinance amendment.