At a public hearing Thursday, county land surveyors, engineers and alawyer questioned whether proposed amendments to the county's storm water management ordinance would make the regulation too stringent.

The county has proposed revising and upgrading the 6-year-old ordinance to clarify procedures developers follow in construction.

The law is intended to control the adverse effects of increased storm water runoff from development sites. Those effects include property damage, increased erosion, degradation of water quality and diminished flood controls.

Those who testified said the amended ordinance would exceed state standards and questioned a more narrow interpretation of exemptions than defined by the state. They also objected torestricting the design of storm water management systems to professional engineers since land surveyors have done the same work.

"You're creating a system that could result in economic and practical hardships for developers," said Pete Podolak, of Leon Podolak and Associates, a Westminster civil engineering firm.

The program establishedby the state is a "bare minimum," said Brian Clevenger, chief of program review and evaluation for the state Department of the Environment's storm water division. He said the state supports the county's effort to improve the ordinance.

Issues have arisen showing "impropermanagement or lack of storm water management," sometimes resulting in lawsuits, said James E. Slater Jr., administrator of the County Office of Environmental Services. The proposed changes should clarify vague passages, said county officials.

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