Council Bill 116248, creating a new Peat Settlement-prone Area designation in the Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) Code, has been passed by City Council and will become effective August 22.
The intent of the Peat Settlement-prone Area designation is to address impacts from new development in areas of peat-rich soils. Impacts include settlement on adjacent sites by lowering the groundwater table.
Within all peat settlement-prone areas, new development below the groundwater level will be prohibited except for specific features such as utility connections and required structural components including shallow foundations or pilings. This requirement may limit the construction of new basements in areas with high water tables.
Parking requirements may be reduced to help offset lost underground parking potential in some zones. Additionally, allowances for additional height or floor area may be granted in commercial zones where a high groundwater table prevents underground parking. Temporary construction de-watering and land-disturbing activities may also be conditioned in these areas to prevent modification of the groundwater regime.
In some areas, the introduction of new impervious surfaces must be offset by an infiltration facility or soil amendment project to replace lost infiltration function. Replaced or reconfigured impervious surface area will not have to be offset.