NEWPORT — A new ordinance updating the city of Newport’s comprehensive plan was approved Monday evening, July 20, by a vote of the Newport City Council. The changes made through this ordinance serve to update the city’s stormwater facilities plans.
City Manager Spencer Nebel told the city council the new ordinance establishes goals and policies relating to the management and replacement of storm sewer facilities in the city. The update incorporates recommendations from a 2016 stormwater master plan created by Civil West Engineering Services, Inc. It lays the framework for not only meeting the current demand, but for accommodating anticipated growth over the next 20 years.
A staff report by Derrick Tokos, Newport’s community development director, said the existing comprehensive plan includes just one goal: “to develop a storm drainage system with sufficient capacity to meet current and future needs of the Newport urbanizable area.” That goal is retained in the new ordinance, and two additional goals have been added.
A second goal states the city will develop a stormwater regulatory framework that emulates Oregon Department of Environmental Quality requirements. These include things like analyzing the impacts of downstream drainage generated by new development; developing storm drainage management options for small-scale development projects; establishing erosion-control requirements; encouraging use of pervious pavement, porous paves, infiltration trenches and other methods of onsite storm water management; and establishing a set of “good housekeeping” policies that limit pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use on city property and serve as guidelines for private property owners.
The third goal emphasizes the city’s desire to collaborate with local and regional partners to establish water quality standards that meet state and federal requirements. One of the purposes of this goal is to work with stakeholders to “detect and eliminate illicit discharges into drainageways, Yaquina Bay and the Pacific Ocean.”
In Nebel’s report to the city council, he stated that adopting these planning amendments through the new ordinance would not have any direct financial impact.
Tokos, in his staff report, said this ordinance provides guidance as to how the city should prioritize future projects. The highest priority would be for improvements to address known capacity issues. This would be followed by projects that respond to chronic downstream flooding, those that eliminate public storm drain lines underneath buildings and the replacement of aging infrastructure.
Tokos also stated the ordinance outlines sources of funding for available for stormwater infrastructure. A stormwater utility fee is used to maintain the storm drainage system for existing users, he wrote in his report. These funds may be used directly to fund projects, or they can be used to secure bond funding to pay for projects. System development charges assessed on new developments may be used to pay for projects required to support new development. And, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Pre-Disaster and Flood Mitigation Assistance Programs may also be tapped into to fund stormwater improvements.
The Newport Planning Commission held a public hearing on June 8 to review the proposed ordinance and recommended that the city council approve it. At Monday’s city council meeting, there was no public testimony in support of or opposing the proposed changes, and there was little discussion among the council itself.
The six members of the city council taking part in Monday’s meeting voted in favor of the ordinance. Mayor Dean Sawyer was not in attendance.