John Bennett, P.E., Concerned Citizen, Timmons Group
VOTE NO on the proposed stormwater regulations
The community understands the need for increased stormwater regulation to protect our environment. There is no question that the Chesapeake Bay is important to all of us and that we all need to be a part of the solution. However, the proposed stormwater regulations are concerning for the following reasons:
The standards as written do not appear to take into account relative costs and financial impacts to the overall economy versus the benefit to the Bay. Preliminary engineering studies have shown that onsite stormwater mitigation costs will increase by between 3 and 20 times, depending on project characteristics. This significantly increases the size and number of BMPs or requires development to use more land. In some cases, projects become economically infeasible due to the cost of mitigation.
The revisions as written make redevelopment more challenging and new development more land intensive and expensive, which will promote the very type of sprawling development the General Assembly and Governor sought to discourage with the passage of House Bill 3202 in 2007.
Localities will need to fund long term program costs with general fund dollars or stormwater utilities. Sources of funding for long term administration of State administered areas is unknown.
The water quality improvements based upon these new regulations are relatively unknown, anticipating improvement on a “more is better” philosophy versus scientific study.
Scientific studies indicate that the largest contributor of phosphorus runoff into the Chesapeake Bay is agricultural runoff, which goes virtually unregulated and untreated. We believe it is irresponsible to ignore the largest contributor of phosphorus to the Bay while imposing strict regulation on a much smaller contributor, especially given the enormous economic toll the limits will have on the Commonwealth.
Virginia is consistently recognized on a national level as the best state in which to do business, which brings us notoriety and improves our ability to attract businesses to the Commonwealth. These regulations will hinder business relocation and expansion efforts while providing little benefit to the health and prosperity of the Chesapeake Bay.
Impacts of this magnitude certainly warrant proper time, input, and study by all sectors of the community. I respectfully submit that more time is needed to evaluate a series of potential solutions with true input from all sectors with scientific and economic data to support a unified cost- effective solution, and encourage you to not enact the stormwater regulations as they are currently written.