COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Downtown Crozet Stormwater Management
Approve the concept of a regional stormwater management facility for a portion of the downtown area of Crozet. Permit staff to proceed with planning, land acquisition, and design.
STAFF CONTACT(S): Messrs. Foley, Davis, Shadman, Harper
LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
November 7, 2007
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
The downtown area of Crozet is expected to undergo significant development and redevelopment over the next couple of decades due to both public and private initiatives, as put forth in the Crozet Development Area Master Plan. The form of development anticipated in downtown Crozet will make it difficult to use conventional storm water management facilities to address ordinance requirements. Crozet is the only designated development area located within a water supply protection area and, in addition, it lies upstream of high-value streams which are believed to be habitat for the James spinymussel, an endangered species. Accordingly, the County is presented with competing goals in wanting to both facilitate the development of a dense, downtown district and provide a high level of protection to downstream drinking water supply and aquatic resources.
Staff proposes a regional approach in managing stormwater for the southern portion of downtown Crozet. Through this approach, stormwater would be more completely managed, resulting in better protection of downstream resources. In addition, economic efficiency would be achieved through constructing a single, large facility instead of having developers construct many, small facilities. A regional stormwater management facility, as envisioned, would capture and treat runoff from a 53-acre watershed (depicted in Attachment A) and be located somewhere in the vicinity of the channel lying between Jarmans Gap Road and Powells Creek. Developing properties served by the facility would contribute to the construction cost per the County’s established pro-rata share policy.
Goal 2: Protect the County’s natural resources.
Goal 2.2: By June 30, 2010, the County, working in cooperation with Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority and others, will increase the quality, supply, and protection of the County’s water resources.
The portion of downtown Crozet lying south of the railroad drains to Lickinghole Basin – a reservoir completed in 1995 to control sediment (see map, Attachment B). Per County policy, all developing properties that lie within the watershed of this reservoir are exempt from providing onsite water quality treatment, and in lieu of this, must pay into the cost recovery fund of the basin based on a pro-rata formula. However, property developers are still subject to the County’s stormwater management regulations for water quantity (i.e., runoff rate and velocity control) and typically meet these requirements by constructing onsite detention systems. Unfortunately, this practice does not ensure additional water quality protection for the network of streams lying upstream of the reservoir, including approximately 3 miles of Powells Creek and Lickinghole Creek lying between downtown Crozet and the reservoir. All of the streams within the Lickinghole watershed are designated by the Stormwater Master Plan as high-value streams, in part because they are located within the water supply protection area.
Staff recommends that a regional stormwater management facility be constructed near downtown as an alternative to continuing with the practice of requiring onsite, water quantity control for downtown development. A regional facility would more economically provide control of flow rates and velocities and could be designed to also provide water quality treatment to protect Powells Creek and Lickinghole Creek. In addition, such a facility would provide stormwater management for areas developed before current regulations were in place, a worthy investment independent of future development plans.
A regional stormwater management approach supports Goal Two of the Board’s Strategic Plan – to increase the quality and protection of the County’s water resources. The project is also consistent with Board decisions made at the July 14, 2004 work session on stormwater master plan financing – that the County should provide a more comprehensive level of service to the community (Attachment C). This higher level of services includes 1) maintaining and improving the drainage system, 2) constructing capital projects such as regional facilities, and 3) protecting streams.
This project will require expenditures for land acquisition, design, permitting, and construction. A planning-level cost estimate is provided in the table below. This summary does not include nondiscretionary costs associated with the project; these expenditures would be necessary even without the development of a regional facility. An example is the cost of constructing or improving a conveyance system of pipes and open channels for the area. If land cannot be acquired by donation or by a negotiated purchase, condemnation of property may be necessary.
There will be opportunities for recovering a portion of these expenditures through various means (see the lower portion of the table). Upon completing and adopting an area drainage improvement plan, in-lieu-of fees could be required for properties developing within the watershed of the facility. However, a major benefit of a regional approach is to capture and treat stormwater management from already-developed areas – and these areas would not contribute to the cost recovery. Therefore, only a portion (about one half) of the project cost would be eligible for cost recovery through in-lieu-of fees. Based on past experience, this would occur over many decades; therefore, the recovery amount reflected in the table is very modest.
Since this project would protect downstream water resources beyond what would be required by state regulations, it is possible that a portion of the cost could be subsidized with federal or state grant money, including a stream buffer cost share grant the County is currently administering. In addition, it should be recognized that a regional facility would eliminate the need for the proposed Crozet library to manage all stormwater onsite. The estimated net cost of this project is indicated at the bottom of the table.
The total project cost can be covered by funds that currently exist in the CIP stormwater control improvements account and the cost recovery would be reimbursements paid at a later date.
It should be noted that one of the primary functions of the water resources program is to address stormwater-related impacts to water resources through the implementation of capital projects. The mixture of features of the downtown Crozet area – high-value downstream water resources, existing densely developed area, exempted water quality requirements – would, independent of concerns regarding future development, lead staff to consider this area for an improvement project.
Staff recommends that the Board approve the concept of a regional approach to stormwater management for downtown Crozet and allow staff to proceed with planning and land acquisition for the project. A status on land acquisition will be provided to the Board prior to commencing with design and construction.