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Looking at CCO draft B from an engineer's perspective

By Stephen Metelits
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2004

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I have many comments on the Revised Draft of the Chatham County Compact Communities Ordinance as compared to the original draft. All references are to the renumbered Revised Draft (Draft B).

1. The word "practicable" was made part of the draft (8.1 Guiding Principles). As an engineer, I love the word because it is so ambiguous. It combines both "practical" and "doable" in one word. The combination leaves open to interpretation the meaning of any sentence in which it appears. It is a word which does not lead to specific meaning; rather, it leads to disagreement as to interpretation.

Review by the Planning Board was written out of the draft in at least three instances.

2. Review by the Planning Board was written out of the draft in at least three instances (8.2 Stormwater Management Plan, 8.4 Maintenance and Upkeep of Stormwater Controls, and 10.1 Passive Open Space). This about eliminates the Planning Board from the Compact Communities Ordinance and any say in future compact communities.

3. The Public Works Department was written out of the draft (the old 9.6 Public Filing of Stormwater Documents, which was deleted entirely). Isn't the Public Works Department interested in runoff and flooding?

4. The Planning Director and the Parks and Recreation Director were written out of the draft at least three times (10.1 Passive Open Space twice and 10.2 Active Recreational Facilities). How is open space to be integrated into a county-wide recreation plan without these people?

5. The County Manager was written out of the draft (11.2 Impact Mitigation). No sense consulting the County Manager.

6. Even the Board of Commissioners was written out of the draft once (11.1 Impact Assessment). Of course, the Board of Commissioners was written in (12.3 Housing) in place of "Chatham County," which probably is more specific and an improvement to the language. And the Board of Commissioners was added to the draft twice (14. Relationship to Existing Ordinances and 15. Waiver). Both of these are new sections.

7. The County Attorney was written into the draft at least five times (8.5 Posting of Financial Security, 9.2 Width of Vegetative Perimeter Buffers, 9.3 Viewshed Buffers, 10.1 Passive Open Space, and 12.2 Streets and Other Specifications). The last was a substitution for "a form supplied by the Chatham County Attorney." In all cases, the new draft requires submissions to the "satisfaction" of the County Attorney. It seems to me that all the items must be to the satisfaction of the Board of Commissioners. If the Commissioners cannot understand the item, they can refer it to the County Attorney for a recommendation--but at their discretion, not by ordinance.

In all, while small, isolated parts of the Revised Draft are improvements to the original draft, there are too many problems with the revised draft to consider it.

 
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Looking at CCO draft B from an engineer's perspective
 
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