Code Amendments

Stormwater Management Code, Chapter 11.6 of the City Code

A minor technical amendment is proposed that will enable a developer to post a bond (or keep a bond in place) on stormwater management BMPs and receive a permanent certificate of occupancy, with the approval of the Director of Planning, Building, and Development.  This change is deemed necessary because of the time it takes for vegetation in certain BMPs to become established.  The amendment adds the underlined text in the section below.

Sec. 11.6-603. - Enforcement, holds on certificates of occupancy.

Certificates of occupancy (temporary or permanent) shall not be granted until the stormwater management features, including but not limited to, all storm drains, culverts, conveyances, and BMPs, have been installed according to the approved plans, inspected, as-built and accepted by the city; or the features are substantially complete and a performance guarantee is retained by the city.

Erosion and Sediment Control Code, Chapter 11.7 of the City Code

The entire chapter of the code is being replaced with the proposed amendment.  The new text more or less adopts the model code developed by the the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.   DEQ allows local governments to adopt more restrictive features into local codes.   Most local governments adopt lower thresholds of disturbed area where the erosion and sediment control regulations will apply.  Roanoke, for decades, has adopted a 2,000 s.f. disturbed area threshold rather than the state-required 1 acre.  When a local government adopts a lower threshold, there is some flexibility with standards applied to projects under 1 acre.  

We are proposing significant changes that would (1) reduce the number of projects subject to plan review and permitting requirements, (2) reduce plan requirements for smaller projects, and (3) eliminate bonding paperwork for smaller projects.

The proposed ordinance will make these major changes: 

1.  Raise the threshold to 2,500 square feet.  

This threshold is consistent with that required of localities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed;

2.  Ease the plan requirements for smaller projects under 10,000 s.f.  

  • No narrative is required
  • Compliance with MS19 is not generally required unless there's a known drainage problem upstream.  
  • Plan can be prepared by a Responsible Land Disturber (or a certified landscape architect or a professional engineer)

3.  Reduce Performance Guarantee requirements

Eliminate requirements for performance guarantees (bonds) for smaller projects where the E&S measures cost less than $5,000 to establish and maintain.

Because of the potential for environmental impact, requirements will remain essentially the same for projects disturbing 10,000 s.f. or more.  A narrative is required and the plan must demonstrate compliance with MS1-19 (all minimum standards).   The plan must be prepared by a certified landscape architect or a professional engineer.

The agreement-in-lieu of a plan provisions for dwellings will continue in the new code.

The proposed ordinance to adopt a new Erosion and Sediment Control chapter will be posted and available for download by December 15, 2017.