Saluda eyes erosion, excavation regulations

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Public hearing set for Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Saluda residents developing property or moving large amounts of dirt may soon have to meet new requirements.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners is considering amending the city’s zoning ordinance to incorporate provisions regulating excavation and removal of earth material.

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The provisions would be designed to improve soil erosion and sedimentation control.

The board discussed the new regulations Monday, Aug. 8. A public hearing is scheduled during the city’s next meeting on Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.

The proposed amendments include the addition of Section 3.10, titled, “Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control.” The city proposes that all development be conducted in conformance with the standards for the control of sedimentation and soil erosion as set forth in North Carolina General Statute, Chapter 113A, Article 4 (sedimentation pollution control).

According to the draft amendment, no zoning compliance certificate will be issued for development involving land disturbing activity if more than one acre is to be uncovered unless an erosion control plan has been approved by the N.C. Division of Land Resources through the N.C. Department Division of Environmental Management.

In cases where land under one acre will be disturbed, the proposal requires the person applying for the zoning compliance certificate to affirm that the land-disturbing activity will be conducted in conformance with the state sedimentation and soil erosion standards.

Residential and commercial development requiring off-site removal of more than 500 cubic yards of earth material will require application to the city, including a grading plan, according to the draft provisions.

The Saluda Planning Board approved the proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance recently. The city has not yet discussed possible permit fees for excavation.

Commissioners agreed the current draft does not do everything the city needs pertaining to excavating property, but they said it does give the city a starting point and changes can be made in the future.

“We asked the planning board to give us a beginning place,” Saluda commssioner George Sweet said. “I think we need to move ahead with [the amendments]. We can have a hearing and get it on the books and in the meantime the planning board can make changes to it.”