REDINGTON BEACH – Town commissioners here have stepped back from a 2-year-old policy that allowed residential lots to have larger areas of hardened surfaces.

Building officials encouraged the commission to reverse the rule Nov. 7 after touring numerous areas of street flooding in town resulting from Hurricane Michael as it passed by the western coast of Florida.

Commissioners unanimously agreed to change the existing standard of 65 percent impervious surface ratio, or ISR, back to the former 40 percent ISR, which had been in place since at least 1989.

Impervious surface is “a surface that has been compacted or covered with a layer of material so that it is highly resistant to or prevents infiltration by storm water,” such as lime rock, clay, roofs, sidewalks or paved streets.

Officials with Florida Municipal Services, which acts as the town’s building department, had recommended the higher ISR in 2016 to bring Redington Beach in line with similar standards in neighboring beach communities.

In recommending the return to 40 percent ISR, FMS noted in a memo that “staff have had the benefit of an additional three months of casual observation of conditions in the town, particularly through the ‘rainy season,’ and that storm surge from Hurricane Michael “caused substantial street flooding even without a rainfall event.”

The memo added that Redington Beach was planning to seek flooding mitigation funds from regional, state and federal agencies “and the success of these funding applications could be adversely affected” by the higher ISR policy.

The memo also introduced a descriptive unit of measurement for runoff. In identifying “implications” for leaving the 65 percent ISR in place, officials wrote “it will result in an increase in runoff from a typical 6,000-square-foot lot of 7.66 cubic feet per second – the equivalent of 7-2/3 basketballs per second entering the town’s storm water drainage system. Such an increase will gravely exacerbate the drainage issues in the town.”

The impervious surface change was part of a package of amendments to Redington Beach’s comprehensive plan approved by commissioners. The other elements dealt with transportation and emergency housing.

The transportation element repealed the existing “transportation concurrency” requirements and updated it with a “mobility management plan” adopted by Pinellas County.

The housing element brings the town into compliance with a county ordinance that allows placing temporary emergency housing in areas where it would otherwise be prohibited. It also would allow “flexibility” in land development regulations to allow temporary emergency housing. The regulation would only go into effect following the declaration of a “state of housing emergency” by the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners.

The changes in the comprehensive plan will be reviewed by the state Land Planning Agency before Redington Beach commissioners can vote on them in a second and final reading, which will occur sometime in early 2019.

Redington cancels Nov. 21 meeting

The Redington Beach Town Commission will not meet at its scheduled Nov. 21 day and time. Commissioners voted Nov. 7 to cancel the meeting.

Thanksgiving is the next day, Nov. 22.

The commission’s next scheduled meeting is Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.