A proposed stormwater ordinance for Cole County would address, as Western District Commissioner Harry Otto said, "the sins of the past."
Cole County is required by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to have an ordinance to manage stormwater runoff and pollution in the urbanized areas in the county. The requirement is part of the federal Clean Water Act in which Environmental Protection Agency delegates responsibility to the state which in turn delegates that to the cities and counties.
At this time, there are two urbanized areas of Cole County: Jefferson City and St. Martins.
The proposed ordinance discussed during the commission meeting Tuesday would seek to address stormwater runoff and pollution problems that were created as the areas developed and the runoff was not regulated or planned sufficiently.
"We have been working on the ordinance for a while (since 2017) and have gathered input from several interested parties and stakeholders (including engineering firms, developers)," Landwehr said. "Full implementation of the ordinance will occur at a later date."
He said the basics on the stormwater ordinance are that, in the urbanized parts of the county, they have to manage stormwater runoff coming from all developments greater than 1 acre so it does not cause issues for properties downstream. This includes putting measures in place for stormwater quantity and quality.
"Stormwater detention has to be in place to control the volume so that it releases into the natural stream in the same manner as it did prior to development," Landwehr said.
Developments also need long-term prevention of pollutants from getting into the streams coming from these developments, Landwehr added.
"One last thing not related to new developments is we also have to have measures in place to detect and eliminate illicit discharges into streams," Landwehr said. "This would be the dumping of hazardous materials, raw sewage and other contaminants into the streams. We currently require stormwater detention and we monitor for illicit discharges through policy requirements but we don't have an ordinance. DNR requires the ordinance which will give us the regulatory authority and keep us in compliance with DNR."
The proposed ordinance would affect urbanized areas of the county as defined by the U.S. Census. Landwehr said the figures they are having to use are from the 2010 census since the 2020 census figures are still delayed due to the pandemic. They are also looking at a half-mile buffer around these areas.
With the current census data, St. Martins would fall into the urbanized area category due to population density, but not Wardsville. However, Landwehr said, that could change when census figures are updated.
"We need to remember this is a living document, and we can change it when we want to," Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher said. "I really think we need to look at the growth that will be happening in the next few years in the Wardsville area."
Landwehr said they could also change that buffer area if commissioners felt it was needed.
"This would apply to any development, not just subdivisions," Landwehr said. "The subdivision code we have might not meet the needs for some of the stormwater issues we face."
Landwehr said DNR has been pushing for them to get the ordinance in place, and they hope they will be able to, in the next 30-40 days, have it to a point where they could hold another public hearing and then bring it back to the commission for final approval. The areas they're trying to work on now deal with maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and potential penalties for those violating the ordinance.
"Recent development work is not causing the problems we're dealing with, it's fixing the work that was done 20-30 years ago, when no regulations were in place," Landwehr said.
Tanner Bridge Road project
In other business Tuesday, the commission approved a supplemental agreement for professional engineering services on the Tanner Bridge Road Safety Improvements Project.
Landwehr said this is with Central Missouri Professional Services for engineering work on the second safety improvement on the Tanner Bridge project. The original agreement approved in 2017 was for $64,795. The $11,055 approved Tuesday will cover additional design costs incurred to date plus estimated costs to proceed through the bid and award phase.
"The scope for the entire safety project has increased significantly from when we started back in 2017," Landwehr said. "Typically when we increase the scope of projects, the fee from the engineering companies increases."
This next phase of the project is a curve realignment just south of Highland Waye.
"The existing curve is sharp, and the geometrics leading into and out of it are awkward," Landwehr said. "There have been several accidents over the years at this location. The project will correct the issue."
Landwehr said they are looking at bidding the project late in the year and award it right after the 2022 budget is approved in early January. The cost will be in the $400,000 range.
The first phase of safety improvements was completed in late November 2019. Don Schnieders Excavating made improvements near the Tara Road intersection, as well as realigned the intersection.
This multi-phase project will make safety improvements to Tanner Bridge from Route B to the Grande Highland subdivision.
Other areas identified to make safety improvements include just south of the Route B intersection and a low-lying area near Vida Lane that floods due to backwater from the Moreau River.
Fixing sharp curves, clearing trees and right-of-way for sight distance and road widening are all improvements that would be done with this project.
The road was built in the 1960s when county roads and bridges were under the jurisdiction of special road districts, public works officials said. Cole County was primarily rural at the time, and roads were narrow and curvy with little traffic.
Today, more than 2,000 vehicles travel Tanner Bridge Road each day, making it one of the highest traveled two-lane roads in Cole County.
This project was paid for with funds generated from the county's half-cent sales tax for capital improvements.
Work is expected to take place on the future phases in years to come as funding becomes available.
In other action Tuesday, the commission awarded Outdoor Warning Consulting LLC a contract for $2,540 to repair woodpecker holes on six poles where outdoor warning sirens are mounted.
Interim Emergency Management Director Bill Farr said the most damage was on poles located at South Country Club Drive and Zion Road along with a pole on the north side of Wardsville. Each of them had five holes. A pole at Scott Station Road had two holes and poles at St. Martins City Hall, Southwood Hills Road and on the south side of Wardsville each had one hole.
To fix the poles with five holes, Outdoor Consulting will fill them and then wrap the poles in wire mesh.
In 2012, the county began to make sure unincorporated areas and smaller communities in Cole County had warning sirens. Communities such as Centertown, St. Thomas, Russellville, Taos, St. Martins and Wardsville received sirens after agreeing to chip in funds. Sirens were also placed in unincorporated areas around Jefferson City in an effort to reach as many people as possible.