By Larry Land
Governor Terry McAuliffe recently signed SB 423 (Hanger), the bill relating to stormwater that allows localities not subject to Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4*) permitting requirements to turn over responsibilities for managing their stormwater management programs to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The identical House companion bill to SB 423 is HB 1173 (Hodges).
Because the legislation has an emergency clause, it goes into effect upon the Governor’s signature.
HB 1173 and SB 423 provide a six-month extension to the current July 1, 2014, deadline for Augusta, Fauquier and Montgomery Counties to adopt their local Virginia Stormwater Management Programs (VSMPs).
Extra time for these counties is granted by the legislation due to their very recent designation by DEQ as “MS4” localities. Until January 1, 2015, stormwater programs for these three counties will be managed by DEQ.
HB 1173 and SB 423 have these other provisions intended to benefit localities:
• Authorization for the State Water Control Board to adopt regulations creating a procedure for approving permits for individual parcels in a common plan of development.
• Establishment of a procedure by the State Water Control Board that will relieve single family lot owners from requirements of obtaining a registration statement when engaging in a land disturbance (this is designed to reduce development costs for owners of smaller lots that are not part of a common plan of development).
• For a permit applicant or permit holder aggrieved by a local government decision, allows for appeals to be conducted in accordance with local appeal procedures. (Current VSMP regulations require more formal processes)
*(According to DEQ these are the larger “Phase 1” MS4 counties subject to individual permits: Arlington, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico, Prince William. Smaller “Phase 2” MS4 counties subject to “general permit” requirements: Albemarle, Augusta, Botetourt, Fauquier, Hanover, Isle of Wight, James City, Loudoun, Montgomery, Roanoke, Stafford, York.)