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Rain to Recreation: Making the Case for a Stormwater Capital Recovery Fee

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Lenexa's Rain to Recreation Program has a three-fold mission (1) reduce flooding, (2) improve water quality, preserve the environment and open space and (3) provide for new recreational and educational opportunities in the undeveloped portion of the city. To support the Program's watershed based “systems” approach to stormwater management a diversified funding package included an (1) annual stormwater utility charge per household, (2) a sales tax, (3) limited general revenue initially and (4) a capital “systems development” charge all to be leveraged with other available sources of local, state and federal funding. At the same time the watershed based approach found savings for both public and private parties realized through (1) economies of scale by regionalizing stormwater management facilities, (2) reducing traditional infrastructure and (3) being proactive rather than reactive.

The city's created lakes, joint use facilities and protected stream setback represent the systems approach that the Program applies the Systems Development Charge supporting an aggressive stormwater capital plan. Black & Veatch Corporation estimated the capital investment for these facilities in 2004 at approximately 61,000,000 and thus prepared a one time capital recovery fee to be collected at the time of building permit. The city to fulfill its mission of improving water quality was at the same time considering adopting a new stormwater quality standards employing a best management practices (BMP) manual. To demonstrate the “win/win” of addressing stormwater quantity regionally and stormwater quality per development, the city and Black and Veatch and team compared the infrastructure savings of nontraditional stormwater “green” infrastructure coupled with savings of regionalization to the cost of the proposed Systems Development Charge.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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