DOWNERS GROVE – Newly constructed single-family houses and additions in Downers Grove would be required to install shallow storage systems to improve stormwater management under amended guidelines presented at the Sept. 11 Downers Grove Village Council meeting.
Village commissioners voiced support for the proposal, which was presented several months after they considered stricter stormwater management plans that required new homes within 200 feet of the public stormwater drainage system to tie into the system. Homes not able to make the connection would have been required to provide a larger stormwater detention.
The new proposal did away with that requirement and instead requires stormwater storage for new single-family houses, as well as additions at least 400 square feet in size.
The new proposal also requires 50 cubic feet of stormwater storage for sump pumps installed with a new foundation.
The proposed regulations, which require final Village Council approval, would more than double the amount of stormwater storage capacity currently required and would apply to practically all new houses built in the village, Village Manager Dave Fieldman said.
The cost of the additional storage is estimated to be between $10,000 and $30,000, “which is a relatively low cost” compared to the cost of the entire project, he said.
“One of the best attributes of these proposed regulations is that all stormwater storage can be provided using a shallow storage system,” Fieldman said. “It’s a usable yard space under most conditions. They can be placed on any property in town with or without a connection to the public stormwater system and in all soil types.”
Additionally, he said, the proposed regulations are easy for home builders to understand and have a low administrative burden. The regulations also provide an incentive for homeowners not to increase the impervious area on their property, Fieldman said.
Mayor Martin Tully said finding an acceptable stormwater management solution was a “year-long journey” during which the village “mightily struggled” to achieve the appropriate balance between resolving flooding and not unduly burdening residents.
“It proved to be far more difficult than perhaps any of us initially imagined,” Tully said.
Village commissioners also approved of the plan.
“It’s not all the way, but it’s a lot more than what it was in the past," commissioner Bob Barnett said.
Commissioner Greg Hose said he thinks the plan is "a substantial step in the right direction.”
“The do-no-harm concept has been key for me," Hose said.
Tully added many of the village’s flooding problems are the result of early development in the community.
“A lot of things were built, including infrastructure, before there were any regulations,” Tully said. “A lot of the cards we were dealt were dealt a long time ago before anyone in this room was born. Let’s face it. There are homes throughout our community that should never have been built where they were built.”