Blacklick Creek gets protection from erosion

Reynoldsburg is working to ensure the protection of one of its natural resources, Blacklick Creek.

 

New standards put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency are in the process of being adopted by Reynoldsburg City Council. Those standards mandate how municipalities regulate the process by which certain types of pollutants are controlled.

 

The Stream Corridor Protection Zone ordinance, which went through a first reading at the Sept. 22 council meeting, is part of this national pollutant discharge elimination system set forth by the EPA.

 

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Oct. 13.

 

The ordinance – which only affects new buildings and areas that are plotted as new development – prohibits construction or alteration of all natural or man-made open channels.

 

The ordinance states the "zone should be kept in as natural a state as possible so that it can perform its inherent functions of erosion protection, flood storage and water quality protection."

 

The ordinance prohibits new development within a minimum of 25 feet back from each side of the stream bank, though depending on the type of development and stream corridor, it could be a maximum of 250 feet.

 

The ordinance has two main objectives, said Aaron Domini, planning and zoning administrator for the city of Reynoldsburg.

 

"It controls erosion and mitigates pollutant runoff," he said.

 

Signs will be posted along the affected corridors stating that no mowing or other alteration is allowed within the posted footage. Domini stresses the ordinance only will affect new development.

 

"If you live along the creek and you¹ve been mowing the lawn, you don¹t have to tear your house down or stop mowing your grass," he said.

 

However, if someone already has a property and plans a home expansion or wants to expand a business’ parking lot, for example, that resident or business owner must comply with the new ordinance because those changes are considered to be construction of new development, he said.

 

"Depending on where you¹re at, the drainage area will determine how far back from the bank you have to be for any type of construction or alteration," Domini said.

 

Though the city must comply with new Environmental Protection Agency standards, Domini says it¹s important for the city to protect Blacklick Creek.

 

"We should do a better job of celebrating it and integrating it into our development," Domini said. "Our long-term goal is to make the creek more a part of our community."

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