Call to Action! | Demand City Council Stop Flooding in our Communities!

Greetings!

On behalf of a newly formed organization called the Intrenchment Creek Community Stewardship Council, we’re calling on all neighbors, businesses, and community stakeholders impacted by flooding and displacement in our city to call on City Council to oppose the weakening of our stormwater management ordinance. Public comment addressing proposed changes to our ordinance will be happening TONIGHT and can be made by dialing (404) 330-6057 between 4:00pm and 7:00pm on TONIGHT, Wednesday, October 7.

Though we are centered around NPU-V, Intrenchment Creek is the primary watershed area in south and south east Atlanta. Many residents may not be aware of the creek because much of it is buried underneath asphalt and concrete. In fact, that development is a major reason why we see significant flooding in communities like Peoplestown when we have big rain storms. The creek is beneath us, right under our feet and under our streets, and when it rains, that rainwater has to go somewhere. And for too many of our residents, it’s coming into our homes and causing displacement.

The Intrenchment Creek Community Stewardship Council is working to reverse this, and soon more will come out about our work to do so. In the meantime, we’re asking neighbors, community members, and stakeholders to call into public comment TONIGHT ahead of tomorrow’s Utilities Committee work session because the City of Atlanta is exploring weakening the city’s existing stormwater management ordinance.

Here are two of the biggest changes to the ordinance:

  • First, the changes weaken the incentive for developers to incorporate green infrastructure in their projects. For context, green infrastructure includes things like retention ponds, bioswales, or even the brick, permeable pavers that you see on Connally Street and Atlanta Avenue. It also removes the requirement to detain water quantities if infiltration is impossible, which essentially removes the incentive for reuse.
  • Secondly, the changes remove the requirements for developers to detain stormwater for two days if the development did not achieve stormwater requirements through new green infrastructure or reuse of captured stormwater.

Keeping the latter requirement especially would be a huge boon in helping to address water pressure issues caused by shorter, high intensity storms (think of the storms this summer) by extending the time it takes for water runoff to drain beyond the duration of the storm. This requirement would also help address back-to-back storm events (which is extremely critical now that we’re in hurricane and tropical storm season), which would otherwise cause flooding for multiple days.

By removing the requirement, this just ensures that developers need to meet the bare minimum standards as defined by the state. Removing this section leaves things at the status quo at the state level, and doesn’t account for the fact that many of our issues stem from an aging city combined sewer system overburdened in current storms which are expected to get worse with more adverse weather due to climate change.

While all of this can seem complex and full of jargon, our ask is simple: we need our neighbors to demand that these “redlined” and redacted sections be restored to the legislation. Specifically, we’re asking for the “Extended Detention” language in Section 74 to be restored to the legislation. Without this, it will be extremely difficult to achieve our resiliency, sustainability, and counter-displacement goals. So your voices are even more critical! Please let your neighbors know!

We want to let City Council know that our communities have a voice in the matter too. So we have three asks for you as fellow citizens and as leaders of your community:

  1. Provide public comment for the work session TONIGHT in support of restoring the redacted language by dialing (404) 330-6057 between 4:00pm and 7:00pm on TONIGHT, Wednesday, October 7. Messages can’t exceed three (3) minutes and will only be accepted within those specific hours. And if this seems complicated, don’t worry! A sample script with talking points has been included here. The work session will be tomorrow, and you can listen in or watch by following the instructions listed here: https://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/5072/182.

  2. Call and email members of the committee and tell them to vote in support of restoring the redacted language. And then call and email your council person. One way or another, this will eventually go before the full council. Committee members are listed here:

    Natalyn Archibong (Chair)
    P: (404) 330-6048
    E: narchibong@atlantaga.gov

    Cleta Winslow
    P: (404) 330-6047
    E: cwinslow@atlantaga.gov

    Howard Shook
    P: (404) 330-6050
    E: hshook@atlantaga.gov

    J.P. Matzigkeit
    P: (404) 330-6051
    E: jpmatzigkeit@atlantaga.gov

    Dustin Hillis
    P: (404) 330-6044
    E: drhillis@atlantaga.gov

    Andrea Boone
    P: (404) 330-6055
    E: aboone@atlantaga.gov

    Joyce Sheperd
    P: (404) 330-6053
    E: jmsheperd@atlantaga.gov

  3. Ask your neighborhood associations, NPUs, churches, business, and other organizing groups to sign on to the attached letter in support of strengthening the language in our stormwater ordinance. The letter was drafted by our partners the South Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and the Intrenchment Creek Community Stewardship Council is in full support. If you’re not sure if your neighborhood or NPU is an Intrenchment Creek community, you can use this map for reference. And if your neighborhood or NPU isn’t in the watershed, that’s fine too! This legislation will have citywide ramifications.

And if you would like to see more of the specifics, you can reference the following documents. The “Redlined” proposed changes are what we are now responding to:

The key to all of this is that we’re all impacted, so any plea should be a personal one. And please don’t hesitate to ask us any clarifying questions you might have! If you do, feel free to reach out to Jason Dozier at jasondozier@gmail.com or 404-913-6419.

And remember, if you have trouble navigating the jargon, please refer to the script we’ve provided: https://docs.google.com/document/d/19Tt3BM_IkDM7OCIswr3ESlqxCZ5uSsu1-_REhXI0_Lk/edit

Thank you all so much for your consideration!

-The Intrenchment Creek Community Stewardship Council