Youngsville adopts higher drainage standards for new construction

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YOUNGSVILLE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – New developments in Youngsville must now prepare for heavier storms.

At its Thursday meeting, the Youngsville City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance requiring residential and commercial developments to build detention ponds in case of a major, 25-year event, which is an upgrade from the five- to 10-year weather event standard.

Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter introduced the ordinance as part of the rapidly growing city’s newly adopted 10-year master plan.

He called the ordinance’s passage a “big win” for the city.

The new regulations require developments to build detention ponds to hold larger amounts of rain and floodwater as the city works to improve its drainage.

Ritter introduced the ordinance weeks after the region was hit by the historic flood in August, but regulations had been drawn up several months before the storm, said Pamela Gonzales Granger, Youngsville’s city engineer.

“We need developments to detain based upon a larger storm event, which in recent years we’ve seen a trend of getting larger storm events more often,” she said.

Some companies, like Southern Lifestyle Development — the developers of River Ranch and Sugar Mill Pond — already design for greater storm events as a precaution.

Councilman Matt Romero said there were some questions about the new drainage ordinance’s cost increase and how it would affect home buyers.

“We didn’t get a lot of opposition from developers, but there were some questions about how its going to be passed down to the home buyers,” Romero said. “Most of our developments are larger developments, so we were told it may only increase about $100 to $300 per home. It also may depend on how open to creativity the developer might be.”

Detention ponds can be constructed into a subdivision’s design as amenities, which can bring up the property value, Gonzales Granger said.

The city is currently working with Southern Lifestyle Development to create a regional detention pond that will relieve some city-maintained channels.

“We are working with them to make it an amenity rather than a large hole in the ground,” Gonzales Granger said.

Youngsville has about $8 million worth of infrastructure projects identified through its master plan. Ritter said the city hopes to put some flood recovery funding to complete a few of those projects as it works with the parish to improve the region’s drainage system.

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