Banks said there was no hurry to vote on the resolution, but Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland placed it on the agenda for a vote. The measure was unanimously approved by members present. Fifth District Councilman Dale Hughes was absent.
The resolution directs city staff, working with Cleveland Utilities, to study tax incentives or rebates of water and sewer fees to developers, builders, homeowners or businesses using porous asphalt. The goal is to limit or reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and sewer backups experienced by some residents.
Banks brought up the discussion of porous asphalt after discussing flooding problems with a local resident.
“There are some cities that offer tax incentives if an owner or developer uses this asphalt,” Banks said. “They say it holds up better than regular asphalt because you don’t have the freezing problems. It costs a little bit more in the beginning to put the base down.” Porous asphalt also reduces runoff by absorbing water, acting more like soil than conventional street surfaces.
He said some cities offer rebates on taxes or water and sewer fees if porous asphalt is used.
“If you pave a big parking lot and build a big building, you might get a reduction in your sewer or water rate,” he said. “Rather than imposing an impact fee or burdening the citizens as a whole for some problem created by excessive stormwater runoff, this would give tax incentives or rebates on water or sewer. This is just a study, we’re not voting to do anything. It’s just a study, but it’s worth looking into to let the citizens know we are trying to remedy the flooding problem we have here in Cleveland.”
Councilman Bill Estes, 2nd District, suggested looking for ways to structure incentives.
The city has allocated $300,000 for a flood plain study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The total cost of a floodplain map is $400,000, of which the Corps of Engineers will pay the first $100,000.
The last study was done in the 1970s and is no longer accurate.
“There are multiple ways to structure the incentives,” he said. “I’ve seen this negotiated in PUDS (Planned Unit Developments) in other places.”
Some cities impose taxes that Banks feels have the potential to sometimes deter development.