The maximum fine for violations of stormwater rules could spike from $500 to $5,000

To deter property owners and developers from spilling contaminated substances into the city's stormwater system, the City of Wilsonville is considering increasing penalties for those who do so. SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO - Wilsonville may increase its penalties for people who spill contaminated substances into the stormwater system.

Wilsonville's current code establishes that the City can fine citizens up to $500 for a code violation and Wilsonville councilors will consider increasing the maximum fine to $5,000 and up to $1,000 per day for those who continue to defy the code after the initial fine. By comparison, West Linn and Lake Oswego have maximum fines of $1,000.

"We just want that range, so hopefully we're not going to get to that amount but when we have somebody, especially a business where they're a repeated violator, we want the means to get compliance," Wilsonville Natural Resources Manager Kerry Rappold said.

Typical violations include grease seeping into the stormwater system and runoff from trash enclosures. Developers and property owners must ensure that sediment-laden water doesn't leave their site and protect the site from erosion.

Rappold said spotting erosion violations is usually easy and the goal is to prevent sediments from running off into the street, the stormwater system and other facilities.

"There's pretty typical things you see at construction sites in regards to erosion. If you're seeing tracking where the sediment is deposited on the street and moved around on vehicles, dust in the summer blowing off of sites, and then where you have steep slopes not properly protected you can get significant erosion off of those," he said.

The City discussed the issue at a work session Monday, May 21 and will hold a public hearing regarding the potential changes at the June 4 council meeting.

Wilsonville staff cited an incident in which a property owner continued to violate city code for 25 days and was visited by police twice before resolving the issue.

"Our enforcements aren't convincing people. We are fining people multiple times the same amount and then sometimes there aren't any changes," Wilsonville Law Clerk Taly Cowen said.

In determining the penalty, the City would consider the violator's history, the severity of the violation, the cost to the city to remedy damages and the violator's level of cooperation, among other factors.

And in terms of construction, developers disturbing ground that is 500 feet or larger would now be required to obtain a sediment control and erosion prevention permit, inspect the property daily, keep a record of inspections and work with City Manager Bryan Cosgrove in case measures taken are ineffective. Cosgrove would also be responsible for enforcing penalties.

The new code would also allow the City to perform inspections on private property without notice if standards are not met, issue stop work orders and take permits from violators. And as a last resort, the City could enter the property, nullify the problem and charge the property owner for the cost of the abatement.

"We would do it in a way where we're notifying the owner or operator and work with them but we would need to go in and inspect to see what the issue is and how it needs to be dealt with," Rappold said.

Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp requested that City staff tweak the proposed code changes to be more clear as to exactly who will brave the costs of the violations and staff indicated that developers, tenants and property owner could be held responsible, depending on the situation.

City passes franchise agreement

and urban renewal extension

The City of Wilsonville unanimously voted to approve a new franchise agreement with Republic Services for garbage and recycling collection. The new agreement authorizes collection rate increases of 3.25 percent in both June and October and a recycling surcharge of $2.50 for residential customers and $1.50 per yard of recycling for commercial customers. It also mandates a franchise fee increase and changes the method in which the City increases rates in the future.

Wilsonville also extended its Year 2000 Urban Renewal District from 2020 to 2023 to create a funding mechanism to pay for a bridge over a low dip in the section of Boeckman Road that will soon feed into the Frog Pond residential area. The extension will increase the maximum indebtedness of the district by $14.5 million. The council still must authorize funding to build the bridge.

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