Legal and regulatory issues on Virginia Environmental Law

Proposed Stormwater Regs May Not Be Sufficient

By: Ann Neil Cosby. This was posted Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is in the process of adopting significant changes to the state’s Stormwater Regulations. These changes will fundamentally alter the way stormwater from construction activities is regulated in Virginia. The changes include new technical criteria limiting the quality and quantity of discharges for new development and for redevelopment. The changes will also result in local stormwater management programs being established in all localities and being administered either by the locality or by DCR.

There has been a considerable amount of interest in and comments on the proposed regulations. Concerns about the cost, effectiveness, and implementation of the regulations have received considerable discussion. Recently, however, the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-VA) published a position paper which addressed the “potential unintended consequences” of the proposed regulations “on Virginia’s urban areas and their capacity to absorb continued and inevitable population growth.” While generally supportive of the overall purpose of the amended regulations, APA-VA is concerned that the burden the regulations place on redevelopment projects creates a “disincentive to redevelop urban areas,” and may actually increase sprawl. APA-VA’s position paper also posits that the “emphasis on using undeveloped spaces to reduce runoff conflicts with the mandated use of new urbanism..” The Association suggests several changes to the new stormwater program, including the incorporation of credits for smart growth BMPS.

You can read APA-VA’s position paper in its entirety here.

You can find the new Stormwater Regulations here: (Amendments to Parts 1, 2 and 3) and (Amendments to Part 13).

Public comment is open for another 30 days but the public meetings are over. Electronic comments may be submitted here for this proposed regulation.

What do you think about APA-VA’s position? Do you agree? What about smart growth credits? What effect, if any, do you see on new urbanism if the proposed amendments are adopted? Do you have your own concerns?

Tags: , ,


  • On what legal doctrine is current regulation of drainage in Virginia based? Is it the Common Enemy doctrine, the civil law rule, the reasonable use rule or a mixture. The next question would be whether the new regulations contemplated would affect the legal doctrines currently used?

    Posted by: Gary Chafin | December 8th, 2009 at 9:06 am
  • I’ve enjoyed reading these types of blogs. Exciting stuff! Solar energy has constantly been a fascination with me.

    Posted by: Norman Spadafora | March 30th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Leave a Reply