The County has a Stormwater department and collects stormwater fees. This is a significant source of revenue for the self-funded department. Funding not only the operations, but ongoing maintenance of the stormwater systems. This department is a federal requirement based on the population and development density within the County.
Stormwater fees are based on impervious surface areas, primarily for commercial parcels. Residential parcels are billed a flat fee, inconsequential of impervious surface areas on the parcel. Currently, impervious surface data is collected from planimetric data collected as part of countywide aerial imagery projects. These projects are generally scheduled for flights every 2 to 3 years. New commercial projects completed after one flight are not billed until the subsequent flight. Meaning that a major commercial project could go 1, 2, or even 3 years without being billed. The Stormwater department is estimating this could mean a loss of revenue annually of nearly $100,000.
We are beginning a new Drone workflow process for stormwater billing purposes. When the “final” inspection is requested for commercial projects, a work order will be created to fly the new parcel with the Solo. The orthomosaic created from the flight will then be used to heads up digitize the structure, parking areas and sidewalks. This data will then be used to calculate the stormwater fee which will be collected at the next tax cycle. The drone captured data will then be replaced by the countywide planimetric data capture.
Additionally, new road construction and residential subdivision development impact stormwater retention areas and watershed areas. The County captures Lidar data once every 4 years countywide. Horry County is 1200 square miles total land area. A significant cost is associated with this data capture. We plan to fly new road construction projects as well as new platted subdivisions to begin analyzing impact to the water sheds on an ongoing basis. It is currently planned to test using the orthomosaic and hills hades, along with any other data captured, to begin impact analysis prior to the countywide data capture. We are definitely interested in seeing the possibilities of this method possibly lengthening the space between LIDAR flights.