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Storm runoff rules threaten property rights

By   /   Monday, January 11th, 2010  /   Comments Off on Storm runoff rules threaten property rights

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Property rights rapidly are becoming the newest endangered freedom in Ventura County.

As Stephen Nellis reported in a recent edition of the Business Times, new stormwater runoff rules are threatening to wreak havoc with development and even redevelopment plans in Ventura County.

These rules would require builders to deal with  75 percent of rainwater runoff on-site, either through catch-basins, open space or treatment facilities. Letting it flow into storm drains no longer appears to be an option.

The ultimate impact of the stormwater rules is unclear, but developers in the private sector — and some public agencies — are concerned about the millions of dollars this will add to construction projects, with, at least in some cases, very little tangible public benefit.

Meanwhile, the federal government has been looking at flood-plain maps in a new light and has come up with its own draconian regime.

This time around, it will require thousands of homeowners in Ventura, Los Angeles and nearby counties to purchase federal flood insurance or risk losing their properties.

The new flood-plain maps take into account areas that haven’t seen a flood in decades. The flood insurance mandates hit at the worst possible time — when housing prices are down, when elderly retirees who own many of the homes don’t have a nickel to spare and when new home buyers in areas such as Oxnard’s RiverPark are stretched really thin.

There’s little danger of any part of Southern California experiencing a catastrophic flood which would trigger the new insurance mandates.

Common sense would suggest that the feds take their maps, go back to the drawing boards and come up with rules that make more sense and that are phased in so that folks hanging on to their homes by a thread  don’t get washed away into the foreclosure stream.

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