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Owners of Big Parking Lots Have to Pay More in Northeast Ohio

This big box center will be charged almost $11,000 a quarter. Image: NE Ohio Sewer District
This big box center will be charged about $44,000 a year for its parking lot. Image: NE Ohio Sewer District
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Impermeable surfaces like parking lots are terrible for the environment in several ways, including the water pollution that results when stormwater runoff causes sewer systems to overflow. In Ohio, the state's highest court recently upheld a fee on parking lots to help mitigate the damage to water quality.

Greater Cleveland, like a lot of older cities, was ordered by the EPA to fix its sewer infrastructure to prevent raw sewage from being dumped into Lake Erie every time it rains. It's a not a cheap task, so it's good to see the culprits will have to pony up to help cover the costs.

Marc Lefkowitz at Green City Blue Lake looks at who will pay what. The fees aren't huge, when you consider how much it already costs to build and operate a large parking lot, but they shift incentives in the right direction:

Curious, we looked at some of the properties -- the kind that you can easily pick out from a satellite image -- and snooped at what they’ll have to shell out on a quarterly basis for their profligate parking lots and acres of operation centers.

The Malls -- As expected, shopping malls and big box centers will take a big hit for paving for the 100-year shopping event. Beachwood Place Mall is scheduled to pay $5,222 a quarter. Severance Town Center in Cleveland Heights, already in bankruptcy, is expected to cough up $10,895 every three months! How about wealthy and thriving SouthPark Mall in Strongsville? Wait for it...$0. Wha? The City of Strongsville is inside the NEORSD territory, but its twenty year old mall with 1.2 million square feet of retail and a parking lot that is breathtaking to behold is not.

Lefkowitz points out that some of the region's worst perpetrators of job sprawl -- like Eaton Corporation, which recently moved to a suburban highway interchange from downtown -- are going to have to pay more as well.

Eaton Corporation should pay $6,852 every three months for their new campus in the Chagrin Highlands. By contrast, their former headquarters, the office tower at E. 12th and Superior Avenue, will pay $216.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The League of American Bicyclists releases its comments on U.S. DOT's draft rule governing how states should measure their transportation performance. And Mobility Lab says affordable housing and transit need to be thought about in tandem.

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