Meeting Date:

Harry Atherton, Marshall District Supervisor

September 16, 2002

Staff Lead:



Frederick P.D. Carr, Director

Community Development

Topic:   An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 11 of the Code of Fauquier County to Add Article 11 Entitled Stormwater Management


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:


In 1966, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution 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 in 1999 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 noted 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, 2002 briefing and an April, 2002 work session on the draft ordinance, and completed the public hearing at its May, 2002 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 which 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 staff’s 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. 

Final Refinements Since the August 19, 2002 Meeting: 

·         Exemptions.  A minor refinement to the exemption language is located in Attachment 2 (p.2, number 7).  That proposed exemption is for “Residential subdivisions in which all lots are greater than 5 acres or residential subdivisions with a total of 3 or fewer lots. 

·         Grandfather Clause for the Ordinance Amending Chapter 11 of the Fauquier County Code.  Concerns were recently raised regarding the proposed code change and its impact on pending applications that have been filed. The final paragraph in Attachment 1 states that any final construction plans, which have been submitted and accepted as complete for stormwater management review shall be subject to the terms and conditions of the replaced ordinance.    

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


 Attachment 1:            Adoption Ordinance for including Fauquier County Stormwater Management Ordinance in the Fauquier County Code 

Attachment 2:            Fauquier County Stormwater Management Ordinance