Stormwater Management Ordinance Revisions

The McHenry County Stormwater Management Ordinance (SMO) was adopted to minimize the effect of urbanization on stormwater runoff throughout the County. However, the original SMO was written intermittently over a 9-year time span and since its effective date, numerous inconsistencies have been identified and the enforcement of many provisions has proven problematic. County staff and officials selected Baxter & Woodman to complete a comprehensive review and revision of the SMO in August 2013. The primary objectives of the project included:

  • Correcting inconsistencies throughout the Ordinance
  • Streamlining the permit submittal and review requirements
  • Reducing the regulatory burden where feasible
  • Updating regulations to be consistent with other laws and relevant planning documents

SMO WebsitePublic input regarding necessary revisions to the SMO was received through a series of nine meetings held in September 2013. Baxter & Woodman also developed and manages a website that allows local stakeholders to stay updated on the progress, public meetings, and more. A total of 78 people attended the nine meetings, not counting County officials, staff, and consultants.  Suggestions from this outreach generated 687 separate comments and recommendations for the Ordinance.

The distribution of comments associated with various sections of the SMO showed that no single section of the Ordinance was the subject of more than 20% of the comments. A comprehensive revision of the SMO was clearly appropriate.

The distribution of comments associated with the project goals indicated that respondents were split on whether the regulations should be reduced or expanded.  It is important to note, however, that the comments strongly supported expanding regulations for a few very specific aspects of the Ordinance.  At the same time, the comments strongly supported reducing regulations for other aspects of the Ordinance.  Finally, the comments on certain sections of the SMO were split between reducing regulations and correcting or clarifying the inconsistencies in the existing regulations.

This feedback from the public guided County staff and consultants as the revised SMO was drafted.  The revised SMO was reviewed and approved by IDNR and FEMA in September 2014 and is set for adoption by the County Board in November 2014.

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