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Through a watershed protection ordinance, the City of High Point, North Carolina is administering an innovative banking program that invests in growth and water quality. What spurred the creation of this, “Phosphorus Bank”? Under North Carolina=s Randleman Reservoir Protection Regulations, the City was required to develop a watershed protection ordinance for its jurisdiction in the Watershed. Approximately 20 square miles (sq.mi.) of the City=s designated future annexation area, as well as a large portion of its industrial areas, lie within the Watershed. Currently, the City has zoning authority for 2/3 of the area, while Guilford County has jurisdiction over the remaining land which is closest to Randleman Lake.

In the 1998 Land Use Plan for the City of High Point Planning Area, the Deep River 1 Watershed provides for and projects urban uses (53% of the area planned for nonresidential uses and 43% for urban residential). This planned use falls within the Randleman Rule's “High Density” Option. Stormwater pollution control criteria for the Randleman Lake Water Supply Watershed outside the Critical Area stipulate that:

High Density Option: If new development exceeds 12 percent built upon area, then engineered stormwater controls must be used to control runoff. New residential and non residential development shall not exceed 50 percent built upon area, unless an alternative high density option is submitted to the Commission as part of the submittal of the local water supply protection ordinance and determined by the Commission to provide equal or greater water quality protection in Randleman Lake and its tributaries.

Because much of High Point=s downtown and industrial areas are within the watershed, the City conducted a watershed assessment to support development of an alternative watershed protection strategy and ordinance that meet these criteria and provide flexibility. In November 1999, the City adopted an ordinance, with a mechanism “Phosphorus Banking” that provided greater water quality protection than the state requirements while also accommodating planned growth.

This paper documents the watershed assessment and modeling approach, the successful involvement of key stakeholders, and the innovative strategy adopted: phosphorus banking.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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