LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
There’s a new regulation for moving dirt in Lake Charles. You now need a city permit for any construction work that involves moving dirt.
While many residents did not want to share their feelings on-camera, they did share plenty of concerns off-camera.
Those concerns ranged from anger that they now have to go through the city to do work on their own yards, to questions about who would enforce it.
But one thing was clear, none of them knew this permit is now required.
As of July 1, any soil disturbances in Lake Charles will now require a Storm Water Grading Permit through the city.
“Under the Federal Cleanwater Act, the city and parish are under a new storm water permitting plan,” explained Douglas Burguieres, Assistant Director of Planning and Development for the City of Lake Charles.
Burguieres says the purpose is to protect the city's drainage system, “From dirt getting in the system, so we don't have to spend as much time maintaining those systems and keeping them clean, so when we do have serious events, it's not affected adversely.”
And it applies to any new residential or commercial project.
Examples include: building foundations, new home construction, swimming pools, new driveways or parking areas, or any other activity where storm water runoff affects adjacent property owners or outflows into the storm drains.
Lake Charles resident Katherine Zimmerman says, “It’s a little bit much.”
Zimmerman doesn't feel it's the city's business to know what she's doing to her own yard.
But the permit also comes with a fee; its $25 for a site under an acre and $50 for anything larger.
In regards to the fee, Zimmermann says, “I think that's unreasonable.”
Burguieres says while they're not out to get people, they do have regulations to uphold, “We have to prove to EPA that we are educating the public, we're documenting what is being done and making sure it's getting done correctly.”
The permit itself is one page, front and back and is required prior to beginning work.
As far as enforcement goes, Burguieres says they have inspectors.
“If there is a serious violation we will be going out to the site and inform you that you need to come in and apply for the permit,” explained Burguieres.