Stream Buffer Mitigation Bank – Gwinnett County, Georgia
Chastant, David B.
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Recent regulations to mitigate the impacts of development on the environment have focused on stream buffers. The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District required municipalities in the Atlanta district to have a stream buffer protection ordinance. The uncertainty and subjectivity in the variance procedure of the model ordinance was a discouragement to development and the economic welfare of the local jurisdictions. Gwinnett County developed a mitigation procedure that removes the uncertainty using a spreadsheet model that calculates the difference in the environmental value of the existing buffer and the proposed buffer. This model also calculates the value of on-site mitigation and if needed the in-lieu mitigation fee required. In-lieu fees are paid into a dedicated fund to be used for projects that enhance stream water quality and habitat.