Levy Court introduces ordinance allowing private wastewater treatment systems within the growth zones. Also, opens door to landowner challenges to Source Water Overlay Zone.

Levy Court fulfilled its promise this week of revisiting an ordinance to allow community wastewater treatment facilities within the growth zone.
    Commissioners banned the use of such systems in March but before doing so said they would reconsider their use within the growth zone at a future date.
    That date turned out to be May 27 when Levy Court President P. Brooks Banta introduced an ordinance allowing private wastewater treatment systems for major subdivisions of 51 or more homes within the growth zone “only in instances where extension of the County Sanitary Sewer District has been denied by the Levy Court.”
    “It creates an option for development within the growth zone,” said County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange, adding the county’s first preference is for a development to hook into the existing county sewer system.
    However, he said, in instances where that is not feasible, the private sewer system becomes an option.
    To avoid any future confusion, commissioners also added wastewater treatment and disposal systems to the county’s definition of public utility.
    Commissioners unanimously upheld Levy Court’s Source Water Protection Overlay Zone while giving property owners an avenue to challenge whether their land lies in a protected water recharge zone.
    The ordinance is in response to a state mandate to protect underground drinking water. For areas where green technologies allow water run-off to seep back into the ground to meet or exceed the previous recharge rate, the county permits 50% impervious cover. Developments that don’t improve the amount of water recharging the underground aquifer are held to an impervious cover limit of 20%, said Petit de Mange.
    Additionally, landowners who do not believe their properties are above a recharge area and thus should not be held to stringent development restrictions now have the opportunity to challenge the Source Water Protection Overlay Zone maps, said Sarah Keifer, director of planning for the county.
    Those individuals can use their own professionals to review the area in question and then submit their findings to make their case, Petit de Mange said.