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Protecting localities from the storm

Posted on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 11:06 am

—Delegates support bill allowing rural localities to opt out of establishing their own stormwater programs—



Slippery roads and lightning strikes are not the only potential dangers associated with rainwater that are concerning local residents.
Now, with a new state-mandated program on the horizon, officials believe that the Commonwealth’s new Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) could devastate the economies of rural localities.
As a result, local representatives are leading state delegates in an effort to give several communities the option of not having to run their own programs, cutting out what they deem to be costly expenses.
According to state legislation that has been in the works for nearly a decade, all localities are required to have established their own SWPPP  by July 1, 2014.
The program, which was originally run by the state, seeks to protect the quality of the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways by implementing measures related to stormwater such as controlling runoff.
In accordance with the Chesapeake Bay Protection Act, the new SWPPP regulations would make any land disturbance greater than 2,5000 square feet the subject of planning and annual dues for requirements such as inspections, as well as fees related to engineer contracts and stormwater drainage field construction.
Northumberland County’s Zoning Administrator Philip Marston said the new regulations will require additional stormwater management plans that will need to be approved for single-family swellings along with land service projects. The county would receive 72 percent of the fees while the state would get 28 percent.
“Basically it’s going to look at what’s on the site, what land service they are applying for, or what size home is going to be on there,” said Marston. “They look at…what they have on the lot to infiltrate stormwater, so it will benefit the Bay and it will benefit erosion.”
Marston said that drawbacks to the program, as far as the local area is concerned, include the additional expenses that homeowners would have to pay.
It was those costs in particular that worry 99th District Delegate Margaret Ransone (R-Kinsale), who said that the
legislation would be “very, very difficult” for the localities she represents.
“One: We do not have a lot of development. Two: It’s very costly for us to have an engineer onsite,” said Ransone. “I worry about families that want to build their first home just starting off because you’re going to have a major up-front cost just in a site plan.”
According to the state’s summary, the disturbance fee scale goes from…

Pick up the Jan. 29 issue of the Northumberland Echo to read the full story!