|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.|
|Comment Period||Ends 8/21/2009|
I am writing on behalf of the Rappahannock River Basin Commission to offer comments on the proposed regulations. Generally, the Commission supports the implementation of the revisions to the regulations since improved management of stormwater is essential to the success of the Bay Program, but we feel compelled to express some concerns. We echo the concern raised by several commenters that the proposed regulations need to be refined to minimize the unintended consequences of promoting sprawl by potentially making it prohibitively expensive to redevelop land in urban and especially suburban areas. Virginia land use policy has been evolving over the past several years with the goal of promoting more compact development. We ask that you review the proposed regulations to ensure that we have consistent policies and implementation. Efforts to incentivize redevelopment and the opportunity to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from sites that currently have little or no stormwater management should be encouraged. The refinement of offsite alternatives may aid in addressing this issue. Opportunities for private funds to be invested in offsetting land conservation-related BMPs should also be encouraged.
As we move to implementation of whatever is finally adopted we strongly encourage you to prepare model local ordinances for use by those who must or choose to adopt the program locally. We understand that the “Bluebook” manual is being revised and that the BMP clearinghouse will be online for the use of those who will design and review new stormwater management plans. These technical assistance tools will be essential to efficient operation of the program and we want to emphasize that priority that must be placed by DCR on these tasks.
We feel that it is important that either within the regulations or within the guidance documents mentioned above that the reuse of rainwater (harvesting) be proactively promoted. Not only does this make common sense it can also make economic sense for the property owner as long as we do not include rules that are an impediment to this market-based solution to our water quality problems. We encourage you to accept some of the previous comments offered on rainwater harvesting (such as comment #7138, Corey Simonpietri, ACF Environmental) that emphasize the need to seize opportunities to keep water on-site for beneficial uses.
I conclude by offering a general principle that the members of the Rappahannock River Basin Commission have come to recognize and endorse – we should empower within our laws and regulations the opportunity for landowners (private and public) to engage in market-based activities (solutions) that improve water quality. We must evaluate all laws and regulations by asking the question: are we creating an economy that promotes water quality conscious decision-making?
Emmett Hanger, Chair, Rappahannock River Basin Commission
(submitted by Eldon James, RRBC Staff)