Comprehensive stormwater bills pass

February 16, 2016

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HB 1250 (Wilt) and SB 673 (Hanger) have passed in the chambers where the bills were introduced. These are companion measures that integrate components of Virginia’s four statutes that govern the state’s stormwater management program – the State Water Control Law, the Virginia Stormwater Act, Virginia’s Erosion and Sediment Control Law, and the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.

HB 1250 and SB 673 resulted from deliberations that took place over the past 10 months by a 22-member Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) convened by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Initially, VACo opposed HB 1250 / SB 673 because of their failure to address a problem affecting “opt out” localities that has become known as the “donut hole,” which (due to unintended consequences of legislation passed in 2014) requires localities subject to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act to undertake stormwater functions for land disturbances between 2,500 square feet and an acre and between 10,000 square feet and one acre for all other opt out localities.

The patrons of the legislation, DEQ and other parties agreed to convene a reconstituted SAG that will be chaired by Delegate Keith Hodges. The new SAG will meet over the next year, with one of its chief purposes being a renewed focus on the “donut hole” problem for all opt-out localities throughout the state. The reconvened SAG is expected to make legislative recommendations to the 2017 General Assembly. With a delayed enactment date of July 1, 2017, the new SAG will have an opportunity to consider and recommend amendments to HB 1250 / SB 673 before provisions of these bills actually go into effect.

VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE

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