Green Oak Township officials have introduced an ordinance that would protect water resources in the municipality by establishing an overlay district.

Overlay districts include special requirements and restrictions that are applied to land uses and activities to eliminate or minimize contamination of the aquifers supplying the township’s municipal water wells. The Wellhead Protection Overlay District is a mapped zoning district that imposes a set of requirements in addition to those of the underlying zoning district. At a recent Board of Trustees’ meeting, an ordinance was introduced that would established the overlay district to regulate the permitted land uses within the wellhead protection area, which is the surface and subsurface area surrounding a public water supply well or wellfield.

Supervisor Mark St. Charles says the ordinance will help preserve the township’s groundwater resources, especially during a time as officials begin to feel the pressures of local development and the effect it could have on surface and groundwater resources in the municipality. He says some of the land uses that will be prohibited in the wellhead protection area are those related to heavy industrial uses or hazardous chemicals.

St. Charles says officials began looking at the ordinance about six years ago; however he says the document became somewhat convoluted, too big and eventually unmanageable after so many revisions over time. Officials went back to the drawing board and have since reworked the ordinance, which requires board approval for adoption at a future meeting. (DK)