As Oak Tree Development planned to build Lime Spring Square along Rohrerstown Road, the developer had lots of decisions to make.
But to be honest, some topics on the table were less scintillating than others.
“Stormwater is kind of a boring subject. It’s hard to get people excited about it,” said Mike O’Brien, Oak Tree president.
A dull topic to some folks, for sure, yet a hot topic to many others. And important for all.
“There’s a lot of pressure on Lancaster County — businesses, farmers, municipalities, developers — to help the discharge that is coming from our county and ending up in the Chesapeake Bay,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien spoke at a recent ceremony to mark the unveiling of Oak Tree’s choice of coping strategies to deal with stormwater management.
Its pick? Floodplain restoration.
The Lancaster-based firm is among a handful of local developers to opt for this less common approach. It costs more than the typical solution — constructing stormwater basins.
But floodplain restoration also offers many more advantages, advocates say, to the benefit of developers, municipalities, taxpayers and the bay.
Had Oak Tree Development gone with that usual approach, it would be constructing at least 12 stormwater basins on the East Hempfield Township site.
Cost: $1.3 million, according to Oak Tree Development.
These pond-like basins can do the job of collecting runoff from the developments’ rooftops and parking lots, then releasing the water later at slower, smaller, controlled rates. That’s about it, though.
So Oak Tree Development picked an option that’s been deployed only about 15 times in Lancaster County, according to its floodplain project’s planner, LandStudies.
Cost: $1.5 million, says Oak Tree Development.
Yes, it costs slightly more than basins. But it accomplishes so much that the extra expense is more than worth it, says LandStudies and Oak Tree Development.
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