Effingham Daily News
A proposal to update city construction standards may end up costing developers more money.
City Engineer Steve Miller presented Effingham city commissioners Tuesday with a consolidation of numerous city policies on development and construction that addresses several issues the city has encountered in the past decade, including one involving streets that triggered the need for updated standards.
Miller is proposing the city increase the standard for the amount of concrete used in constructing subdivision streets. The city currently requires 8 inches of rock and either 2 inches of asphalt or 5 inches of concrete in constructing a street. He proposes a developer use a minimum of 8 inches of concrete.
“A lot of our city streets go 9 to 10 inches,” he said.
Miller said the city is having an issue with older streets that do not meet that requirement.
“A lot of older streets we see breaking up, because the concrete is only 3 inches thick,” he said.
Commissioner Matt Hirtzel agreed thicker concrete has long been needed for streets, but said the requirement would increase the cost for developers.
“We’re not making it cheaper to develop,” he said. “At some point, we have to do something about the cost.”
Commissioner Don Althoff pointed out the city is spending money now fixing streets that do not meet the requirement.
Another major change to the city’s policies would require sidewalks in new subdivisions be constructed all at once when pavement and other utilities are constructed.
In past practice, sidewalks have been built as houses were constructed. However, the practice has left spots where there is no sidewalk.
“This would fill in those sidewalk gaps,” said Miller.
Miller said developers would be responsible for fixing sidewalks broken due to driveways constructed later.
Another policy change prohibits sump pump drain lines from discharging directly into the street. The policy refers to new construction or residences in which more than half is renovated.
Miller said by allowing the practice it has caused problems on city streets.
“When you have 10 to 15 homes dumping water onto the street, it causes a surface problem on the street,” he said. “They’re suppose to discharge in the yard, but that’s been ignored.”
Hirtzel believes draining into a yard may be a difficult adjustment.
“I don’t know how you’re going to get people to dump water in their front yards,” he said.
Miller said if developers and owners do not want to discharge into the yard, they have the option to tie directly to a gravity storm sewer or detention basin.
The consolidated policy will be brought back to council at a later date for a vote.