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Charlottesville City Council Talks Drones, Stormwater and More - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville City Council Talks Drones, Stormwater and More

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Charlottesville City Council is talking about everything from new towing regulations to government use of drones. City Council took up a number of issues Tuesday night, some that were resolved quickly and others that made for some lengthy discussions.

For the first time Tuesday Charlottesville city councilors took a look at a proposed ordinance for a stormwater fee.  The fee targets areas of the city with surfaces producing the most runoff.

This affects Charlottesville because stormwater runoff from roofs and sidewalks stream into the area waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.     

The cost of protecting the bay from the stormwater would start at $1.6 million. Some are against the fee, but most people who spoke during the public hearing were in favor of it.

"We believe that the stormwater utility ordinance will support a program of rehabilitation and maintenance the storm water systems throughout the city by providing a dedicated fund through user supported fees," said Kirk Bowers, a supporter of the stormwater fee.    

Residents and businesses in the city with 1,000 square feet of runoff would be looking at a fee of  $3.25 a month.    

After Tuesday night's meeting, the public's and council's comments will be taken into consideration and a revised ordinance will come back to council a second time for a vote.

A number of people from the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute urged councilors to put limits in place on how law enforcement can use drones Tuesday.

Some councilors say they will consider taking early steps in putting a resolution in place, while others are against taking any action.    

The Obama Administration is calling for drone technology to become integrated into the national air space by 2015.

City Council also heard the first proposal of a towing ordinance to help improve the city's towing process. The proposal includes increasing signage in towing areas and ensuring that those towed can get their vehicle back in a prompt manner.

The ordinance was designed to benefit towing companies, parking lot owners and drivers.  This ordinance will come before City Council one more time before they vote.

Councilors also voted to transfer money from the city's capital improvement contingency fund for the $3 million renovation of Buford Middle School and Charlottesville High School science labs.

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