Meeting Date:

Harry Atherton, Marshall District Supervisor

August 19, 2002

Staff Lead:



Frederick P.D. Carr, Director

Community Development

Topic:   Proposed Stormwater Management Ordinance, Fauquier County Code


The objective of this addition to the Fauquier County Code is to establish a stormwater management ordinance and a multi-phased program for surface water quality protection.  The proposed ordinance is included as Attachment 2.


Background Information & Analysis:


The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution in 1996 to establish a multi-phased program for surface water quality protection in Fauquier County.  That program would result in the establishment and addition of a Stormwater Management Ordinance into the Fauquier County Code.  No deadline for completion was established.  However, since that time it has become abundantly clear with the development pace that the County now needs to have such an ordinance in place. 

In 1999, The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) released the Stormwater Management Handbook, which provided basic guidance on how to comply with the regulations adopted by the General Assembly.  

Ordinance Development: 

At the conclusion of adopting the Erosion and Sediment Control Amendment to the Fauquier County Code in FY 2002, the Board of Supervisors included other related tasks needing attention.  One of those related tasks is the design and adoption of the requisite Stormwater Management Ordinance (SWMO) this year.  That task became a Department and County Engineer priority.  Note that the proposed ordinance, included as Attachment 1, will be in addition to, but will not replace the Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance, both of which will be located in the Fauquier County Code. 

The proposed ordinance is based on the DCR model ordinance.  The proposal addresses and establishes Best Management Practices (BMP) countywide for quality control, stormwater management design requirements to address two and ten year flooding, criteria for redevelopment, and concept plans.  The baseline technical documents for establishing ordinance design guidelines and made part of the proposed code regulations by reference are the:  Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook (Prepared by the: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation), Northern Virginia BMP Handbook (Prepared by the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission and the Engineers and Surveyors’ Institute), and Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook (Prepared by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation). 

Review Chronology: 

A draft SWMO has been submitted to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for their review and comment to ensure compliance with state requirements, as they pertain to localities adopting a stormwater management (SWM) program.  The draft SWMO was approved by DCR with minor edits.  The revised draft SWMO was forwarded to the County Legal Department for review.  Recommended refinements from both DCR and County Legal were incorporated into the draft SWMO. 

A technical review group was established to provide technical input and assist in editing and critiquing the information contained in the draft SWMO.  This group included participants from large and small engineering firms representing the interests of their clients both large and small, as well as their own professional and technical backgrounds, the independent builder/developer, environmental special interest organizations, and relevant state agencies.  Two “Round-Table” meetings were held with this group between February and March of this year.  Comments arising from the groups’ involvement have been incorporated into a refined draft SWMO. 

Planning Commission Review: 

The Planning Commission had a March briefing and an April work session on the draft ordinance, and completed the public hearing at the May meeting.  Comments arising out of these actions were incorporated into the final draft SWMO (refer to section below entitled “Comments from the Public”). 

At the conclusion of its June meeting, the Planning Commission forwarded the final draft SWMO to the Board of Supervisors with minor clarification edits and a recommendation for approval. 

Comments from the Public: 

The issue that raised the most concern has been the use of the language that downstream properties and waterways will be protected from “increases in volume, velocity, and peak flow rate...” The objection is that there will be increases in volume if any development occurs.  The staffs’ position is that downstream properties need to be protected from affects of upstream development.  The wording used in the proposed document is used in both the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook and the Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook written by DCR.  The staff and Planning Commission have retained the language as presented in these documents. 

A second issue is with some of the definitions used in the proposed ordinance.  Some in the engineering community believe that the definitions presented are either confusing or too strict, while some believe we should use the “federal” definitions for items.  The staff has chosen to use the state definitions that were provided through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.   The Planning Commission concurs that, for consistency purposes, the state definitions need to be used.  Any future changes to those state definitions need to be reflected within the Fauquier County Code.

Financial Impacts Analysis:

A financial impact analysis has not been conducted for this request.

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Community Development

John Marshall Soil & Water Conservation District

Property Owners



1.  Ordinance for including Fauquier County Stormwater Management Ordinance

2.  Fauquier County Stormwater Management Ordinance