Town of Surfside Beach Approves Stormwater Utility Fee

Town of Surfside Beach Approves Stormwater Utility Fee

Tuesday night the Surfside Beach Town Council passed final reading of an ordinance establishing a stormwater utility fee program. Thomas & Hutton staff provided multiple services to the Town including, but not limited, to the following:

A detailed analysis of existing GIS information including parcel, land-use, zoning, building footprint and impervious surface data.
A Five-Year Stormwater Budget/Resource Allocation Plan developed to determine necessary levels of funding to address the Town’s MS4 permit and stormwater infrastructure needs.
Development of spreadsheets of multiple utility rate scenarios for all different classes of properties (single-family, multi-family, commercial, etc.) to establish the most appropriate fee to meet Town stormwater needs.
Creation of a final stormwater utility report and ordinance.

There were multiple GIS data challenges for this project that T&H was able to resolve utilizing geothinQ. While the GIS layers obtained from Horry County contained impervious surface layers and building footprints, our GIS staff discovered that in several instances; a parcel was listed as vacant, but there were still impervious surfaces within that parcel. Our staff researched impervious layers and discovered that previous digitization efforts did not line up exactly with the parcel boundaries, resulting in parcels listed as vacant still appearing with a small amount of impervious area that was actually on the adjacent piece of property. This occurred both ​for residential as well as commercial properties.

T&H also identified commercial and/or multifamily parcels that had large parking lots and/or impervious surfaces that were listed as vacant (or no Owner) in the County database. Our GIS staff had to physically go into the database and digitize these impervious areas to make sure that they were accounted for in the calculations. It was also necessary to go into individual parcels and split the area of impervious acreage between tenants of office/commercial buildings or condominium/apartment complexes. In addition, the County’s impervious surface layer did not include swimming pool decks which had to be created in our system.

While there were challenges associated with this project, our staff utilized necessary resources to provide the Town with a detailed and accurate product that allowed them to gain approval from their Council to adopt the stormwater utility fee.