MUCH OF CENTRAL NORTH CAROLINA HAS RECEIVED BETWEEN ONE AND THREE INCHES OF RAIN SINCE LATE SUNDAY MORNING. AN ADDITIONAL TWO TO THREE INCHES OF RAIN WITH LOCALLY HEAVIER AMOUNTS MAY OCCUR TODAY THROUGH TONIGHT...MOST OF IT FALLING IN A RELATIVELY SHORT TIME FRAME. THIS ADDITIONAL RAINFALL WILL QUICKLY RUN OFF FILLING CREEKS AND STREAMS TO BANKFUL OR POSSIBLY OUT OF THEIR BANKS. ALSO THE POTENTIAL EXIST FOR WIDESPREAD HEAVY RAINFALL. IF THIS OCCURS OVER AN URBAN AREA...FLASH FLOODING WILL QUICKLY OCCUR.
* WHILE MUCH OF THE REGION HAS EXPERIENCED A SIGNIFICANT DROUGHT...THIS AMOUNT OF RAINFALL...ESSENTIALLY A MONTH S WORTH...IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME...WILL QUICKLY RUN OFF. SOME OF THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL MAY OCCUR EARLY THIS MORNING...MAINLY ACROSS THE SOUTH AND EAST...AND AGAIN TONIGHT AS STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO CROSS THE REGION. SOME OF OUR MOST RECENT FLASH FLOOD DEATHS HAVE OCCURRED WITH HEAVY RAIN EVENTS
IMMEDIATELY AFTER A PROLONG PERIOD OF DRY WEATHER. MOTORISTS SHOULD AVOID KNOWN AREAS THAT FLOOD DURING HEAVY RAIN EVENTS WHILE OUT AND ABOUT TODAY AND TONIGHT.
The would-be developers of a massive, Meadowmont-plus-sized residential and commercial development on the eastern edge of Durham want the City Council to exempt their project from a pending move to widen required stream buffers.
. . .
Construction has yet to begin, but Zumwalt and his clients are worried that Durham officials could throw a kink in the plan by doubling the size of the buffers they require around many streams.
That would come as part of an effort to beef up the environmental-protection standards of Durham's "unified development ordinance."
Simplifying the matter somewhat, officials now require a 50-foot-wide buffer strip along each edge of the streams in and around the project site. A proposal to widen that to 100 feet is making its way through the drafting and review process.
The change is supposed to leave more vegetation intact to help filter pollutants out of runoff, and bring Durham's standards for protected so-called "perennial streams" more in line with those of other communities in the area.
Zumwalt's clients, however, maintain that the change would undermine their plans. They want a five-year exemption so they can go ahead under existing buffer standards.
Widened buffers and other changes officials are considering "will result in a considerable loss of developable land," translating "directly into a greatly reduced number of residential units as well as reduced commercial and office floor space," Zumwalt said in a letter explaining his clients' request.
It's a pretty simple equation - more impervious surface = more runoff = more pollution.
In economic terms, it's an unpriced externality that developers pass on to the community, or as we like to say around the Dependable Ranch, socialize the costs, privatize the profits. Adding "$500 Million" to the tax base increases municipal revenues by about $5.5 million a year or so, nowhere near enough to meet Durham's existing financial responsibilities for cleaning up Jordan and Falls Lakes.
I have no doubts, though, that most of our current crop of elected officials, especially the clown show that is our County Commission, are incapable of seeing past that "$500 Million" figure.
Also worth noting is the continuing trend, first commented upon a couple of years ago during the extended drought, toward wet and dry seasons in North Carolina and the southeast region. It appears to this casual observer that that's becoming the norm rather than the exception.