- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - A homebuilders’ group is warning that new rules in the Des Moines suburb of Clive aimed at preventing excessive stormwater runoff could send the cost of home construction soaring and slow development.

Clive’s new runoff requirements seek to reduce the volume of water entering Walnut Creek from new construction sites, with the goal to slow flooding and control erosion along the creek’s banks, the Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/2fpH8H3 ). The new rules call for stormwater to be absorbed into the ground instead of traveling over hardened surfaces - like concrete and compacted soil - into Walnut Creek. The city will use measurements in the Iowa Stormwater Management Manual to ensure runoff rates stay steady after construction is finished.

“We’re saying, ‘OK, developers and engineers, put up your houses, buildings, roads, etc., just make sure the runoff mimics the runoff that occurred before settlers showed up,’” said Doug Ollendike, Clive’s director of community development.

But the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines estimates the standards could add $15,000 to the price of an average new home lot. Executive Officer Dan Knoup cited data that shows builders lose 3,126 buyers for every $1,000 added to the price of a home.

“So with a $15,000 jump in price, that’s 45,000 families in the state that can’t afford that house now,” Knoup said.

The city maintains it shouldn’t be difficult for developers to adhere to the new standards, but it will require a change in practices. Ollendike said those practices are already in place in cities across the country.

“These standards are not going to bring an end to development because they’re so expensive and so burdensome,” he said.

Clive became the first city in the region to implement recommendations outlined in a Walnut Creek Watershed master plan, which addresses water quality and flooding concerns in an area encompassing 53,000 acres in Dallas and Polk counties.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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