Superior city officials are considering changes to its property maintenance code to encourage the development of green infrastructure.
Green infrastructure is a cost-effective approach to managing the impact of wet weather, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It reduces and treats stormwater at its source and delivers environmental, social and economic benefits, because stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution in urban areas, the EPA states.
The changes were proposed by a consultant that reviewed the city’s ordinances.
It modifies the noxious weed ordinance to allow for the cultivation of native plants and lawns and encourages the creation of residential compost piles for the first time.
Superior’s Public Works Committee modified where compost piles could be placed prior to recommending adoption by the City Council.
“The reason I suggested that is because in my neighborhood, which is in an older section of the city, we have houses that are built right on top of each other,” Councilor Ruth Ludwig said. “From where I live, I can look at five residents within a two-block radius who would not be able to compost.”
The proposed change would have prohibited compost piles within 25 feet of an occupied dwelling on an adjacent property. Using a map, Ludwig demonstrated that her neighbor’s yard, while large enough to hold a compost pile, would only be 16 feet from neighboring homes.
“We do not want to discourage them,” Ludwig said.
Mayor Jim Paine said that proposal would make his compost pile in a yard that abuts three adjacent property owners illegal.
“While it’s possible I might be able to find a spot to put my compost pile, it would be right in the middle of the property where most people put their fire pit,” Paine said. “It really reduces the options.”
The committee amended the ordinance to require compost piles to be 5 feet from adjacent lot lines and no closer to an occupied dwelling then 10 feet. The committee also added language that prohibits a compost pile that is a nuisance to neighbors.
The ordinance specifically prohibits compost piles from containing garbage, pet waste, meat scraps and other materials that may attract animals or vermin or emit obnoxious odors.
Andrea Crouse, a water resource specialist, said the Environmental Services Division is developing a website to reference and planning educational sessions for the public to explain what native lawns are, and the proper way to compost.
The Council considers adopting the ordinance changes Nov. 5.