Riverside is offering an incentive to homeowners to initiate projects that will mitigate flooding after heavy storms, like the one that inundated Ken Circo’s backyard (above) on July 2. | PROVIDED/FILE

The village of Riverside has launched a pilot program to incentivize homeowners to undertake storm water management projects for their properties by granting a one-time building permit fee credit of up to $250.

The new program, approved unanimously by trustees at their July 20 meeting, is principally focused on exterior projects that address prolonged standing water on properties after storms or divert storm water away from the sewer system to lessen the impact of sewer backups on other properties.

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had larger rains, so people are aware of where it sits on their property,” said Assistant Village Manager Ashley Monroe, who also heads the village’s community development department. 

“If we can help one property and also neighboring properties by reducing the amount of storm water infiltrating the public system or over private property, that’s the point.”

The new program lays out four criteria, two of which a project must meet, which village staff will consider in agreeing to issue the permit fee credit. Those criteria include whether drainage/standing water is causing direct damages to structures or home drainage, documented evidence of standing water lasting at least 24 hours after a rain event, whether the project can substantially improve the problem and whether the project will assist in complying with a village regulation and benefit more than one property.

The types of projects that could result in the permit fee credit include installing rain gardens or bioswales of more than 100 square feet, installing a dry well of more than 10 cubic feet, disconnecting downspouts from the sewer system and relocating drain tile and gutter discharge, relocating a sump pump to mitigate water discharge and installing overhead sewers.

Flood-control solutions, such as installing check valves, are not part of the program at this time, because those types of projects primarily benefit one property at the possible expense of others.

The village is setting aside $5,000 during 2023 to accommodate permit fee credit storm water management projects – roughly 20 for the remainder of the calendar year — which will be evaluated in the order they come in to the village’s community development department.

Depending on how many homeowners take advantage of the program, elected officials could increase the amount of money to put toward it, or even expand the scope of the program, in 2024.