Tuesday, September 4, 2007

PUBLIC HEARINGS ON COASTAL STORMWATER RULES

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has scheduled four public hearings in September to receive comment on proposed changes to Coastal Stormwater Rules as outlined in 15A NCAC 02h .1005.

These proposed changes are in response to a DWQ study that found existing rules are outdated and do not effectively protect the State’s coastal resources. The changes impact land in ALL 20 Coastal Counties! The Environmental Management Commission debated these rule changes earlier this year and directed DENR staff to schedule the hearings.

The proposed changes include:

Extending the existing 30-foot vegetative setback to 50 feet.
Reducing the low density threshold within ½ mile of shellfishing (SA) waters from 25% to 12% impervious surface density (built upon area). Any project over 12% lot coverage (high density) will need a structurally engineered stormwater system on site that will control and treat stormwater runoff based on the one-year 24-hour storm calculations. The current rule requires stormwater control for the first 1.5 inches of rainfall.
Reducing the low density threshold for development activities beyond ½ mile SA waters from 30% to 24%. Development over 24% lot coverage will be required to install structurally engineered stormwater systems as described above.
Prohibiting the use of all wetlands impervious surface calculations for projects covered under these rules.
Lowering the threshold for coverage under the rules from 1 acre of land disturbance to 10,000 square feet of land disturbance.

These rules are similar to Federal Phase 2 stormwater rules that Brunswick, New Hanover and Onslow Counties are mandated to follow. Under Phase 2 rules, vested property or property already that was already platted before rule implementation was grandfathered and exempt from the new regulations. When Tom Reeder with the Division of Water Quality was asked about vested rights being grandfathered, he stated that vested rights have not been addressed in the proposed rules and should be brought up at the public hearings!

These rules could be devastating to your industry and your voice is needed! A public hearing will be on September 20, 2007 at 7 pm at the COA (old Manteo Middle School) auditorium, Roanoke Island Campus; 205 Hwy. 64 South Business.

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