Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board
Stormwater Management Regulations AS 9 VAC 25-870 [4 VAC 50 ‑ 60]
Action Amend Parts I, II, and III of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program Permit Regulations to address water quality and quantity and local stormwater management program criteria.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 8/21/2009
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8/20/09  3:17 pm
Commenter: John Jay Schwartz, MCR, RPA...Have Site Will Travel, Ltd.

Is Virginia Still Open for business or is it under Stormwater?????

Dear Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board Members,


Virginia has just been selected as the best state for doing business by CNBC .


That award has an enormous positive impact on those of us in the real estate industry in the Commonwealth and its potential for creating and bringing new jobs and sorely needed tax revenues.  The high quality of life in the Commonwealth helps drive the engine of growth and we all respect the need to create and foster a healthy balance of environmental, human and economic sustainability.  The real estate community and the members of the various allied professional real estate organizations truly believes in best practices  in the areas of sustainability, urban re-development, and growth management to preserve the quality of life for our citizens.     


But the proposed amendments to the Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations could sink all these great efforts, excuse the phrase, “ right down the river.”    


More specifically, the proposed amendments to Virginia’s stormwater regulations conflict with a number of areas where commercial, residential, and industrial development professionals have made progress towards building more sustainable communities.  We believe the technical regulations as written, will actually discourage re-development within and around existing infrastructure and encourage sprawl.  A quick summary of some of the problems are as follows:

  • The regulations call for a statewide phosphorus standard of 0.28 lb/ac/yr.  This is an across the board standard making it far more onerous to create any places of high density or imperviousness.
  • The regulations call for retention standards of 1” of runoff (90% of storms) versus the current 1/2” of runoff (75%), mandating more open wet and dry ponds that are counterproductive in creating walkable places.
  • The regulations allow the localities to NOT use some of the toolbox options recommended by the state, such as cisterns, green roofs, etc.  This is likely to happen because they don’t want to be directly responsible for the many thousands of BMPs that these regulations would require.
  • The regulations consider any conversion of woods to parks, ballfields, yards, and open spaces, to be “managed turf”.  These managed turf areas will be deemed to be between 20-25% impervious, requiring more BMPs just for them, thus making it more expensive to develop.
  • The regulations ignore that a majority of the phosphorus delivered to the Chesapeake Bay is from agricultural uses.  

My real estate business model puts me in contact with 100’s of potential corporate users and owners that I try to bring to the Commonwealth of Virginia.  This proposed regulation will cause serious damage to those marketing efforts and put Virginia at a disadvantage in attracting new businesses to relocate here or existing ones to expand.  It could actually cause existing businesses to leave the Commonwealth and we can ill afford to lose those companies, the jobs and the tax revenues.

For the sake of my business personally and the real estate industry overall I respectfully request that the proposed changes be rejected.  The Department needs to study the regulations with more practicing real estate professionals and community economic developers to help propose a more realistic standard(s) to preserve water quality in Virginia. 

Thank you for your consideration. 


John Jay Schwartz, MCR, RPA



"I bring no agenda or bias.  I just deliver Commercial Real Estate Results.

 If you have questions or concerns, we have solutions!"


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CNBC selects Virginia as the best state for doing business




CommentID: 9798