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Stormwater Ordinance


Stormwater Management Ordinance

The Stormwater Management Ordinance (Chapter 11.6 of the Code of the City of Roanoke [1979], as amended) was adopted by City Council on May 19, 2014, and became effective on July 1, 2014. A Stormwater Management Design Manual is incorporated in the Ordinance by reference and includes details on design of stormwater management systems, procedures for the submittal and review of stormwater management plans, and maintenance requirements. The manual was revised on July 1, 2014, to incorporate residential drainage requirements and a revised maintenance agreement.

Download the Stormwater Management Ordinance and latest version of the Stormwater Management Design Manual:

Stormwater Ordinance
Frequently Asked Questions

Individual Chapters
Table of Contents & Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Reserved for Future Use
Chapter 3: Stormwater Management Plan Review and Approval
Chapter 4: Easements
Chapter 5: Stormwater Hydrology
Chapter 6: Open Channels
Chapter 7: Culverts
Chapter 8: Storm Drains
Chapter 9: Residential Lot Drainage
Chapter 10: Stormwater Retention
Chapter 11: Energy Dissipation
Chapter 12: Stormwater Pollutant Removal Practices
Chapter 13: Reserved for Future Use
Chapter 14: Reserved for Future Use
Chapter 15: Maintenance Of Stormwater Management Facilities
Chapter 16: Inspection and Enforcement

Why did the City develop the current stormwater ordinance?

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is required by the Virginia Stormwater Management Law and Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations (VSWML&R) to regulate land development activities to prevent water pollution, stream channel erosion, depletion of groundwater resources, and more frequent localized flooding to protect property values and natural resources. These regulations require localities (e.g., the City of Roanoke) to establish a local program to regulate the same in their jurisdiction.

The City implements its own program through the proposed Stormwater Management Ordinance and Stormwater Management Design Manual (Manual). The advantage of a local program for property owners and developers are as follows:
    • Review of the stormwater management practices performed by the same staff that is reviewing the overall development plan.
    • Offers a single point of contact for permitting of land disturbing activities.

What activities are covered by the current ordinance?

Residential, commercial, industrial or institutional land development activities that involve land-clearing or soil movement are regulated with the exception of the following:
      (1) Permitted surface or deep mining operations and projects, or oil and gas operations and projects conducted under the provisions of Title 45.1 of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended;
      (2) Clearing of lands specifically for agricultural purposes and the management, tilling, planting, or harvesting of agricultural, horticultural, or forest crops, livestock feedlot operations, or as additionally set forth by the State Board in regulations, including engineering operations as follows: construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, desilting basins, dikes, ponds, ditches, strip cropping, lister furrowing, contour cultivating, contour furrowing, land drainage, and land irrigation; however, this exception shall not apply to harvesting of forest crops unless the area on which harvesting occurs is reforested artificially or naturally in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 11 ( 10.1-1100 et seq.) of Title 10.1 of the Code of Virginia or is converted to bona fide agricultural or improved pasture use as described in Subsection B of 10.1-1163 of Article 9 of Chapter 11 of Title 10.1 of the Code of Virginia;
      (3) Single-family residences separately built and disturbing less than one acre and not part of a larger common plan of development or sale, including additions or modifications to existing single-family detached residential structures
      (4) Land disturbing activities that disturb less than ten thousand square feet (10,000 sf) of land area except for activities that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that is one acre or greater of disturbance.

      (5) Linear Development projects provided that less than 1 acre of land will be disturbed.
      (6) Discharges to a sanitary sewer or a combined sewer system;
      (7) Activities under a State or federal reclamation program to return an abandoned property to an agricultural or open land use;
      (8) Routine maintenance that is performed to maintain the original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original construction of the project. The paving of an existing road with a compacted or impervious surface and reestablishment of existing associated ditches and shoulders shall be deemed routine maintenance if performed in accordance with this subsection; and

      (9) Conducting land-disturbing activities in response to a public emergency where the related work requires immediate authorization to avoid imminent endangerment to human health or the environment. In such situations, the Administrator shall be advised of the disturbance within seven days of commencing the land-disturbing activity and compliance with the administrative requirements of Subsection (a) is required within 30 days of commencing the land-disturbing activity.
How was the current ordinance developed?

The City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, and the City of Salem have worked together to develop stormwater ordinances with similar requirements to provide as much consistency as possible for property owners, developers and designers working in the area.

The draft City ordinance was developed using a template from DEQ. This assures that the ordinances meet the minimum state requirements but the drafts have also been tailored to consider local conditions and needs.

What is the Stormwater Management Design Manual?

The Manual includes detailed provisions for the design and construction of stormwater management facilities and is incorporated by reference in the Stormwater Management Ordinance. The Manual serves two primary purposes:
    1. Provides a detailed description of the process and requirements for the submittal, review and approval of stormwater management plans as well as requirements for the long-term maintenance of storm water management facilities. The Manual includes plan review checklists and standard forms and language for the various agreements required by the ordinance.

    2. Provides a compilation of design criteria and guidelines for common stormwater management facilities that are constructed or anticipated to be constructed in the city. These guidelines will be used by city staff to review and approve Stormwater Management Plans.
The Design Manual incorporates elements of the Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook published by DEQ in 1999 which serves as its primary guidance for SWM programs. Basing the Manual on the DEQ Handbook and other recognized sources helps to assure consistency between the city’s local program and state requirements.

Final Approval of Stormwater Management Facilities and Storm Drain Systems

Final Approval of Stormwater Management Facilities and Storm Drain Systems