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Commission approves zoning changes to improve Superior stormwater management

The Plan Commission approved changes to the zoning code that regulates required buffers between residential and commercial district.

The changes include new measures designed to prevent pollution and better manage stormwater runoff.

The changes result from a grant-funded study of the city's policies done by the city of Superior's Environmental Services Division.

"They hired a consultant to go through zoning and look at a couple of things," said Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director. "This is kind of a snapshot of what we will be presenting in the next couple of years as we go through other divisions of the zoning code, but we thought this was a kind of low-hanging fruit already."

Some of the suggestions are things the city was already doing, such as allowing landscaped buffers to be created, Serck said. Under the changes, landscape plantings will accommodate bioretention or other stormwater management measures designed to reduce runoff.

"We're trying to introduce landscaping into parking lot development as well as buffering," Serck said.

The revisions to the ordinance also address the requirements for trash dumpsters and receptacles, and screening requirements, which the city started requiring when the buffering ordinance was adopted in 2005.

The revisions require lidded dumpsters and receptacles to prevent rain, snow and animals from getting in and takes into consideration the placement of required enclosures to prevent runoff into storm drains or surface waters through a variety of abatement methods. Grading and drainage review for all dumpster areas must be performed by the Public Works Department prior to issuance of a building permit.

Outdoor storage areas will also be reviewed for grading and drainage prior to building permits being issued to ensure contaminated runoff doesn't reach storm drains or surface waters.

"These are things we are already looking for; they're just things we're putting into our code," Serck said.

The Council considers the ordinance change when it meets May 7.