The mayors of towns along the Rahway River will meet in Cranford next week to discuss ways in which their municipalities can revise ordinances and improve their stormwater management plans.
The stormwater management conferencewill take place Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the , 220 Walnut Ave. Members of the Mayors Council on Rahway River Flood Control as well as municipal engineers, environmentalists, planning board and zoning board members will gather to
develop some consensus on changes to current practices, according to former Cranford Mayor Daniel Aschenbach, who still has some involvement with the committee. He was instrumental in forming the organization in the months following Hurricane Irene.
"It is important for towns to implement an ordinance which goes beyond the state mandated Storm Water Ordinance. Storm water management rules that can mitigate some of the damages wrought by the Rahway River, such as we saw during Hurricane Irene, should be in place in all communities along the Rahway River," Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff said.
Haimoff will be hosting the meeting along with Cranford Mayor David Robinson and Springfield Mayor Ziad Andrew Shehady.
"Irene brought significant damages to local communities and additional focus on
stormwater quantity is needed," Aschenbach said. "A strong, healthy local economy is critical so people have jobs and commerce thrives but existing land use decisions and decisions on new development have to take into consideration what the best practices are regarding stormwater."
At its last meeting on Jan. 26, the council agreed to a master plan for the bridges along the Rahway River. The plan will focus on making sure that improvements to current bridges as well as future structures take into consideration impacts on flooding.
In light of a study done by the Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corps of Engineers, it was agreed that the Morris Avenue bridge, Milltown Road bridge, Route 22 bridge and Hazelwood Avenue bridge be included in upcoming improvement projects.
In addition, the council plans to urge the Union County Freeholder Board to implement provisions of state legislation A-4267, which will permit county open space funds to be used for acquisition of flood prone properties. Both Cranford and Rahway have numerous properties that could be eligible for the funds. The group also agreed to review state legislation that would make it easier for municipal engineers to implement river maintenance projects.
Following the last session, each representative also agreed to provide more details on the damage that Irene caused so that state and federal legislators will better understand the need to implement or fund as many of the Mayors Council requests as possible.