Thursday, January 30, 2014
Helpful stormwater bill advances
On January 29, the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee reported HB 1173 (Hodges) by a 17-4 vote.
As amended, HB 1173 provides any locality not operating a Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System (MS4) with the option of allowing DEQ to manage a Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) on the locality’s behalf. This provision was proposed as an alternative source of assistance to many localities that would have benefitted from a one-year delay in the compliance deadline for them to adopt their own stormwater programs.
HB 1173 has other helpful provisions for counties:
• 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 relieving 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).
• To reduce duplications and help simplify the stormwater permitting process, the separation of “post construction” and other standards from Virginia’s “General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities.” (This “general permit” is actually a set of regulations required under the federal Clean Water Act that applies to all counties. The general permit’s objectives are similar to objectives of state mandated erosion and sediment control programs administered by localities.)
The House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee reported HB 1173 with an emergency clause, meaning that the bill will go into effect upon signature by the governor if it passes the House and the Senate by super majorities.
The practical benefit of the emergency clause is immediate authorization for DEQ to implement the bill’s provisions well before July 1, when most bills passed by the General Assembly officially become law.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE
Delegate Orrock’s farm bill passes House
By a vote of 73-23, HB 268 (Orrock) passed the House of Delegates.
VACo opposes HB 268 because the bill limits local government authority to regulate certain on-farm business activities. More specifically, the bill prohibits local governments from approving certain on-farm business activities through special exception, special use permit, or administrative permit unless the activity has a “substantial impact” upon public health, safety and welfare. The legislation provides no guidance on the meaning of “substantial impact.”
A vote is pending in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee on SB 51 (Stuart), which is HB 268’s Senate companion.
VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE
VACo on the Go Legislative Edition: Speaker Bill Howell
William Howell, Speaker of the House of Delegates, talks with VACo about Medicaid expansion, local business taxes and the historic transportation bill that was passed last year.
VACo Contact: Dean Lynch, CAE
Governor McAuliffe to speak at the 2014 Local Government Day
The Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions will host Local Government Day at the General Assembly on Thursday, February 6.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has confirmed he’ll be the keynote speaker.
The event will be held at the Richmond Marriott, located at 500 East Broad Street in downtown Richmond.
Staff will report on legislation affecting local governments. Local officials are encouraged to participate in committee meetings and lobby state legislators at the Capitol. In the evening, local officials are urged to invite their state legislators to dinner.
The cost of the event, which includes a box lunch, is $45 per person.
VACo Contact: Carol Cameron