PURPOSE: To protect the aquifers which provide drinking water to the County’s service districts from depletion and contamination due to inappropriate use of land.

METHOD: Identification of areas of land which provide recharge to existing or planned public drinking water supply wells.  Once identified the Board of Supervisors may place an overlay zoning district on the area.

PROCESS: Aquifer protection areas are identified through study conducted by hydrologist or other competent expert.  Area is referred by Board of Supervisors to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation on proposed ordinance enacting overlay district.  Board of Supervisors acts on recommendation of Planning Commission.  Like any proposed ordinance both Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors hold public hearing prior to action on ordinance.

EFFECT: Imposition of an APOD has the following effects:

  1. Prohibits certain uses which have a high potential of depletion or damage to the aquifer.  Those uses include-landfills; sewage treatment facilities; production of paving, roofing or other petroleum based construction materials; transportation terminals; gasoline stations; dry cleaning establishments; road salt stockpiles; underground storage tanks; vehicle junk yards.
  2. Requires special permit for the following uses-subdivisions of more than 7 lots; nonresidential uses of more than 40,000 sq ft.; uses with impervious surfaces of more than 10,000 sq ft; uses generating more than 2000 gallons of wastewater per day unless on public sewer.
  3. Sets standards for nitrogen management where a special permit is required- No use may exceed a 5ppm nitrogen loading standard;
  4. Sets standards for stormwater management-prohibits direct discharge of untreated stormwater either on or offsite.

ISSUES: The ordinance presents certain integration issues which should be studied and any negative or unintended consequences remedied.  These issues include:

  1. If the APOD includes areas within service districts the prohibition of uses may run counter to the zoning ordinance’s intent to locate many of those commercial or industrial uses in a service district.
  2. The requirement for a special permit for subdivisions of seven or more lots in an APOD may violate Va. Code Section 15.2-2288.1.
  3. Need to review interaction between the County’s presently existing stormwater management and pretreatment requirements with the proposed ordinance to ensure no conflicts or unintended consequences.
  4. Impacts to landowners.
  5. Staffing impacts to administer ordinance.

STATUS: Action on a resolution referring the proposed ordinance to the Planning Commission was tabled by the Board of Supervisors at its June meeting.  A work session on the proposed ordinance will be held by the Board of Supervisors at its July meeting with possible action to follow.  The proposed ordinance is presently under review by Emery & Garrett and also True North Environmental, LLC.