Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Resilience Exemption Privilege

Drain leaves

Flood control is everyone's job, dontchya know.  You guys don't have any business criticizing the sloppiness and neglect resulting from corrupt patronage at the Sewerage and Water Board until you have adopted your own storm drain. Don't any of you lazy takers understand personal responsibility anymore?

Ok, well, not you, though, Costco. We know you didn't mean it.  Besides, how could you have even predicted this would be an issue? 
The city offered a statement, that reads New Orleans’ understanding and relationship with water has changed dramatically over the decades and its water policy has improved with it.

“We now know that living with water will be paramount to the City’s future success. As the City has learned more about this relationship, through publications like the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, published in 2013, the City has worked tirelessly to implement aggressive storm water management requirements for new developments and redevelopments.”

“In 2015, New Orleans City Planning Commission adopted a storm water management requirement through the comprehensive zoning ordinance (CZO) requiring developments or redevelopments over 5,000 square feet of impervious surface to detain and filter the first 1.25 inches of runoff for the whole site.

"Additionally, the City’s Resilience Strategy, Resilient NOLA, released in August 2015, adopted the urban water plan and committed the city to investing in comprehensive and innovative urban water management. The Comprehensive Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with Costco finalized in July 2012, long before these new and important requirements were made into law.

So you see, when we wave our shaming finger at residents for not bootstrapping up their own infrastructure we don't mean to point at our good corporate job creator friends. We just mean the stupid poors who were here before you. They're the ones who were supposed to have known about resilience and stuff before we did.

Anyway, just to prove how not mad we are at Costco.. or any company with the money to do a big development project from here on out, we're offering them an opportunity to buy their way out of their obligations.
As for the fee program, developers would have to first document to the city's Department of Safety and Permits that they made a good-faith effort to comply with the mandate to include green infrastructure, but couldn't due to landscape or design hindrances. Developers who opt out would then pay a fee of $44 per cubic foot of property that otherwise would have been devoted to a drainage feature on the property.

Officials last week estimated around 20 percent of large real estate projects undertaken over the last years in New Orleans would likely have qualified for the opt-out fee. Other cities with stormwater management programs also have a fee-in-lieu setup, officials say. They argue that it's better to have the city produce bigger green infrastructure projects rather than rely on smaller drainage features on individual properties to reduce flooding after heavy rains.
It is better to have the city just do collectively funded bigger infrastructure projects.  Of course, to do that, we'd also need a competent and honest agency in charge of the work. But since we prefer to drift toward the semi-privatized grift factory model, we're gonna go with opt-in funding for the wealthy and public shaming for the poor. Everybody seems happier that way.

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