COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Water Protection Ordinance Changes

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Set a public hearing to consider a proposed ordinance to amend County Code Chapter 17 to require permanent vegetation to be established on disturbed areas within a specified period and to make other administrative and procedural changes

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Messrs. Tucker, Foley, Kamptner, Graham, Brooks 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:   

July 8, 2009

 

ACTION:                INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

  ACTION:   X          INFORMATION:   

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

At the May 6, 2009 work session on stormwater regulations, the Board directed staff to, among other things, initiate the process for the Board to amend the Water Protection Ordinance to establish limits on the time that land may remain disturbed under the County’s erosion and sediment control regulations.  In preparing a draft ordinance as directed by the Board, staff has identified some other recommended amendments to the Water Protection Ordinance to facilitate its implementation and administration, and to keep it current with State law.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 4:  Effectively Manage Growth and Development: The process changes proposed are to provide for a more efficient and predictable development review process for applicants, the public and staff.

 

DISCUSSION:

The proposed ordinance would establish a time limit for land disturbance as directed by the Board at its May 6, 2009 work session.  Staff recommends that land be allowed to be disturbed for 9 months, by which time permanent vegetation would need to be installed on all denuded areas that are either not part of an active building permit or areas where erosion is prevented by a non-erosive surface.  “Non-erosive surface” would be defined in the regulations.  The proposed ordinance also would allow the 9-month period to be extended by the program authority for up two three months or by the Board, both under prescribed circumstances.

 

Staff recommends that the Water Protection Ordinance also be amended to address inactive applications for erosion and sediment control plans (hereinafter, “E & S plans”) and approved E & S plans for which no subsequent land disturbing activity timely occurs.  The proposed ordinance would provide that an application for an E & S plan for which revisions are required in order for the plan to be approved would be deemed withdrawn if a revised plan was not submitted within 6 months after the owner received notice of the required revisions from the County.  The proposed ordinance would also provide that an approved E & S plan would become void if the owner failed to obtain a grading, building or other permit for land disturbing activities within one year after approval of the E & S plan.

 

Staff also recommends that the bonding requirements in the Water Protection Ordinance be amended to comply with a new state law effective July 1, 2009 that requires localities to reduce the percentage of administrative overhead that may be included in bonds to secure subdivision improvements from 25 percent to 10 percent.

 

The proposed ordinance also would make other minor technical amendments to update cross-references to State regulations and to mirror time periods for action allowed by State law.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

Although no specific budget changes are anticipated, staff believes these changes will allow for limited resources to be used more effectively and provide greater predictability with respect to process.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board set an August 5, 2009 public hearing for the attached ordinance.

 

ATTACHMENTS:

A – Draft Water Protection Ordinance Amendment

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