An ordinance amending Article 4 of Chapter 8 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) for Columbus, Georgia so as update certain provisions in regards to the stormwater and floodplain programs.


Section 1.

Article 4 of Chapter 8 of the Unified Development Ordinance is hereby amended by striking the entire article and replacing it with a new Article 4 to read as follows:


Section 8.4.1. - Statement of Purpose.

Soil erosion and sediment deposition onto lands and into water within the Columbus, Georgia area are occurring as a result of failing to apply proper soil erosion and sedimentation control practices in land clearing, soil movement and construction activities. This sediment deposition results in pollution of waters and damage to domestic, agricultural, recreational, fish and wildlife and other resource uses. The purpose of this Article, as authorized by the legislature of the state of Georgia in the Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975, and as further amended, is to control and minimize the extent of erosion and sedimentation, to conserve and protect land, water, air and other resources and to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare. The Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975, and all amendments thereto, are hereby adopted as fully set forth and incorporated by reference herein into this UDO.

Section 8.4.2. - Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.

Best management practices (BMP's) means sound conservation and engineering practices to prevent and minimize erosion and resultant sedimentation, which are consistent with, and no less stringent than, those practices contained in the ‘Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control in Georgia’ published by the Commission as of January 1 of the year in which the land-disturbing activity was permitted.

Board means the Board of Natural Resources.

Buffer means the area of land immediately adjacent to the banks of state waters in its natural state of vegetation, which facilitates the protection of water quality and aquatic habitat.

Certified personnel means a person who has successfully completed the appropriate certification course approved by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

City Engineer shall mean the duly designated Director of the Department of Engineering of Columbus, Georgia licensed and registered in Georgia to perform the duties of Engineer, as herein specified, or his duly authorized agent.

Coastal Marshlands shall have the same meaning as in O.C.G.A. 12-5-282.

Commission means the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation C Commission (GSWCC).

CPESC means certified professional in erosion and sediment control with current certification by EnviroCert Inc., which is also referred to as CPESC or CPESC, Inc.

Cut means a portion of land surface or area from which earth has been removed or will be removed by excavation; the depth below original ground surface to excavated surface. Also known as "excavation."

Cutting means the removal of any soil or other solid material from a natural ground surface.

Department means the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Design professional means a professional licensed by the State of Georgia in the field of: engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, forestry, geology, or land surveying; or a person that is a certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC) with a current certification by EnviroCert Inc. Design Professionals shall practice in a manner that complies with applicable Georgia law governing professional licensure.

Development permit [means] the authorization necessary to begin a land disturbing activity under the provisions of this ordinance. See also "site development permit."

Development project or "project" means the entire proposed development project regardless of the size of the area of land to be disturbed.

Director means the Director of the Environmental Protection Division or an authorized representative.

District means the Pine Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District.

Division means the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Department of Natural Resources.

Drainage structure means a device composed of a virtually nonerodible material such as concrete, steel, plastic or other such material that conveys water from one place to another by intercepting the flow and carrying it to a release point for stormwater management, drainage control, or flood control purposes.

Ephemeral stream means a stream that under normal circumstances has water flowing only during and for a short duration after precipitation events; that has the channel located above the ground-water table year round; for which ground water is not a source of water; and for which runoff from precipitation is the primary source of water flow.

Erosion means the process by which land surface is worn away by the action of wind, water, ice or gravity.

Erosion, sedimentation and pollution control plan means a plan required by the Erosion and Sedimentation Act, O.C.G.A. Chapter 12-7, that includes, as a minimum protections at least as stringent as the state general permit, best management practices, and requirements in Section 8.4.6 of this ordinance.

Existing grade means the vertical location of the existing ground surface prior to cutting or filling.

Fill means a portion of land surface to which soil or other solid material has been added; the depth above the original ground surface or an excavation.

Filling means the placement of any soil or other solid material, either organic or inorganic, on a natural ground surface or excavation.

Final stabilization means all soil disturbing activities at the site have been completed, and that for unpaved areas and areas not covered by permanent structures and areas located outside the waste disposal limits of a landfill cell that has been certified by EPD for waste disposal, 100 percent of the soil surface is uniformly covered in permanent vegetation with a density of 70 percent or greater, or landscaped according to the Plan (uniformly covered with landscaping materials in planned landscape areas), or equivalent permanent stabilization measures as defined in the Manual (excluding a crop of annual vegetation and seeding of target crop perennials appropriate for the region). Final stabilization applies to each phase of construction.

Finished grade means the final elevation and contour of the ground after cutting or filling and conforming to the proposed design.

Flood plain, one-hundred-year means land in the floodplain subject to a 1 percent or greater statistical occurrence probability of flooding in any given year.

Grading means altering the shape of ground surfaces to a predetermined condition; this includes stripping, cutting, filling, stockpiling and shaping, or any combination thereof, and shall include the land in its cut or filled condition.

Ground elevation means the original elevation of the ground surface prior to cutting or filling.

Land-disturbing activity means any activity which may result in soil erosion from water or wind and the movement of sediments into state waters or onto lands within the state, including, but not limited to, clearing, dredging, grading, excavating, transporting, and filling of land but not including agricultural practices as described in Section 8.4.3.

Larger common plan of development or sale means a contiguous area where multiple separate and distinct construction activities are occurring under one plan of development or sale. For the purposes of this paragraph, "plan" means an announcement; piece of documentation such as a sign, public notice or hearing, sales pitch, advertisement, drawing, permit application, zoning request, or computer design; or physical demarcations such as boundary signs, lot stakes, or surveyor markings, indicating that construction markings, indicating that construction activities may occur on a specific plot.

Local issuing authority means the governing authority of any county or municipality, which is certified pursuant to subsection (a) O.C.G.A. 12-7-8.

Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control in Georgia means that publication of the same name published by the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and as amended or supplemented from time to time.

Metropolitan River Protection Act (MRPA) means a state law referenced as O.C.G.A. 12-5-440,et seq., which addresses environmental and developmental matters certain metropolitan river corridors and their drainage basins.

Natural ground surface means the ground surface in its original state before any grading, excavation or filling.

Nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) means numerical units of measure based upon photometric analytical techniques for measuring the light scattered by finely divided particles of a substance in suspension. This technique is used to estimate the extent of turbidity in water in which colloidally dispersed or suspended particles are present.

NOI means a notice of intent form provided by EPD for coverage under the State General Permit.

NOT means a notice of termination form provided to EPD to terminate coverage under the state general permit.

Operator means the party or parties that have: (A) operational control of construction project plans and specifications, including the ability to make modifications to those plans and specifications; or (B) day-to-day operational control of those activities that are necessary to ensure compliance with an erosion, sedimentation and pollution control plan for the site or other permit conditions, such as a person authorized to direct workers at a site to carry out activities required by the erosion, sedimentation and pollution control plan or to comply with other permit conditions.

Outfall means the location where stormwater in a discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, leaves a facility or site or, if there is a receiving water on site, becomes a point source discharging into that receiving water.

Owner means the legal titleholder to real property. For the purpose of erosion control, the owner is the legal titleholder of the real property on which is located the facility or site where the construction activity takes place.

Permit means the authorization necessary to conduct a land-disturbing activity under the provisions of this ordinance.

Person means any individual, partnership, firm, association, joint venture, public or private corporation, trust, estate, commission, board, public or private institution, utility, cooperative, state agency, municipality or other political subdivision of the State of Georgia, any interstate body, or any other legal entity.

Phase or phased means sub-parts or segments of construction projects where the sub-part or segment is constructed and stabilized prior to completing construction activities on the entire construction site.

Roadway drainage structure means a device such as a bridge, culvert or ditch, composed of a virtually nonerodible material such as concrete, steel, plastic or other such material that conveys water under a roadway by intercepting the flow on one side of a traveled way consisting of one or more defined lanes, with or without shoulder areas, and carrying water to a release point on the other side.

Sediment means solid material, both organic and inorganic, that is in suspension, is being transported or has been moved from its site of origin by air, water, ice or gravity as a product of erosion.

Sedimentation means the process by which eroded material is transported and deposited by the action of water, wind, ice, or gravity.

Soil and Water Conservation District approved plan means an erosion and sedimentation control plan approved in writing by the Pine Mountain Soil and Water Conservation District.

Stabilization means the process of establishing an enduring soil cover of vegetation by the installation of temporary or permanent structures for the purpose of reducing to a minimum the erosion process and the resultant transport of sediment by wind, water, ice or gravity.

State general permit means the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System general permit or permits for stormwater runoff from construction activities as is now in effect or as may be amended or reissued in the future pursuant to the state's authority to implement the same through federal delegation under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. Section 1251, et seq., and O.C.G.A. 12-5-3(f).

State waters means any and all rivers, streams, creeks, branches, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, drainage systems, springs, wells and other bodies of surface or subsurface water, natural or artificial, lying within or forming a part of the boundaries of the State which are not entirely confined and retained completely upon the property of a single individual, partnership or corporation.

Structural erosion and sedimentation control measures means measures for the stabilization of erodible or sediment-producing areas by utilizing the mechanical properties of matter for the purpose of either changing the surface of the land or storing, regulating or disposing of runoff to prevent excessive sediment loss. Examples of structural erosion and sedimentation control practices are riprap, sediment basins, dikes, level spreaders, waterways or outlets, diversions, grade stabilization structures, sediment traps and land grading. Such measures can be found in the publication Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control in Georgia.

Trout streams means all streams or portions of streams within the watershed as designated by the Game and Fish Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources under the provisions of the Georgia Water Quality Control Act, O.C.G.A. 12-5-20, in the rules and regulations for Water Quality Control, Chapter 391-3-6 at Streams designated as primary trout waters are defined as water supporting a self-sustaining population of Rainbow, Brown or Brook trout. Streams designated as secondary trout waters are those in which there is no evidence of natural trout reproduction, but are capable of supporting trout throughout the year. First order trout waters are streams into which no other streams flow except springs.

Vegetative erosion and sedimentation control measures means measures for the stabilization of erodible or sediment-producing areas by covering the soil with: (1) permanent seeding, sprigging or planting, producing long-term vegetative cover; or (2) temporary seeding, producing short-term vegetative cover; or (3) sodding, covering areas with a turf of perennial sod-forming grass. Such practices can be found in the publication Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control in Georgia.

Watercourse means any natural or artificial watercourse, stream, river, creek, channel, ditch, canal, conduit, culvert, drain, waterway, gully, ravine, or wash in which water flows either continuously or intermittently and which has a definite channel, bed and banks, and including any area adjacent thereto subject to inundation by reason of overflow or floodwater.

Wetlands means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

Section 8.4.3. - Exemptions.

A. Activities Exempt from Permitting Process.

B. Exempt Activities. This Article shall apply to any land-disturbing activity undertaken by any person on any land except for the activities listed below.
Section 8.4.4. - Application Procedures.

See Chapter 10, Article 4, for applications procedures for land-disturbing permits.

Section 8.4.5. - Plan Requirements.

See Chapter 10, Article 5, regarding Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Pollution Control Plans.

Section 8.4.6. - Minimum Requirements for Erosion and Sedimentation Control.
A. General Provisions. Excessive soil erosion and resulting sedimentation can take place during land-disturbing activities.

B. Best Management Practices.
C. Specific Minimum Requirements. The permittee and exempt persons who are required to comply with this Article shall follow, as a minimum, best management practices, including sound conservation and engineering practices to prevent and minimize erosion and resultant sedimentation, which are consistent with, and no less stringent than, those practices contained in the Manual for Erosion and Sediment Control in Georgia in effect as of January 1 of the year in which the land-disturbing activity was permitted, as well as the following:
D. Sediment Control Ponds. When a pond, either new or existing, is incorporated into a development, the developer shall note on his plans if the pond is to be used for sediment control or retention during construction. If the pond is to be used for sediment control, the developer will be required to dredge, clean and grass the pond upon completion of construction of the project. Further, sediment control devices shall be required to protect downstream property during construction.

E. Reserved.

F. Prohibited Land Disturbing Activities. Land-disturbing activities shall not be conducted within the 100-year flood plain except in compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Section of this Article.

Section 8.4.7. - Stream Buffers.

A buffer is established along the banks of any state waters, as measured from the point where vegetation has been wrested by normal stream flow or wave action. See the Environmental Protection chapter of this Ordinance for details.

Section 8.4.8. - Education and Certificate.

A. Persons involved in land development design, review, permitting, construction, monitoring, or inspection or any land-disturbing activity shall meet the education and training certification requirements, dependent on their level of involvement with the process, as developed by the commission in consultation with the division and the stakeholder advisory board created pursuant to O.C.G.A. 12-7-20.

B. For each site on which land-disturbing activity occurs, each entity or person acting as either a primary, secondary, or tertiary permittee, as defined in the state general permit, shall have as a minimum one person who is in responsible charge of erosion and sedimentation control activities on behalf of said entity or person and meets the applicable education or training certification requirements developed by the Commission present on site whenever land-disturbing activities are conducted on that site. A project site shall herein be defined as any land-disturbance site or multiple sites within a larger common plan of development or sale permitted by an owner or operator for compliance with the state general permit.

C. Persons or entities involved in projects not requiring a state general permit but otherwise requiring certified personnel on site may contract with certified persons to meet the requirements of this ordinance.

D. If a state general permittee who has operational control of land-disturbing activities for a site has met the certification requirements of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of O.C.G.A. 12-7-19, then any person or entity involved in land-disturbing activity at that site and operating in a subcontractor capacity for such permittee shall meet those educational requirements specified in paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of O.C.G.A 12-7-19 and shall not be required to meet any educational requirements that exceed those specified in said paragraph.

Section 8.4.9. - Inspection, Enforcement and Penalties.

See Chapter 12 for inspection, enforcement and penalties related to land development activities.


All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed.


Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia held on the 24th day of January, 2017 introduced a second time at a regular meeting of said Council held on the ______ day of ________, 2017, and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote of ________ members of said Council.

Councilor Allen voting____________.
Councilor Baker voting____________.
Councilor Barnes voting____________.
Councilor Davis voting____________.
Councilor Garrett voting____________.
Councilor Henderson voting____________.
Councilor Huff voting____________.
Councilor Pugh voting____________.
Councilor Thomas voting____________.
Councilor Woodson voting____________.

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