The County’s Erosion and Sediment Control Program focuses on protecting property owners and watersheds from soil erosion, sediment deposition, and nonagricultural runoff from land-disturbing activities as specified in the Code of Virginia. Program administration, plan review, inspection, and enforcement is achieved using the specifications and guidelines set forth in the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook, 1992.
The County’s Stormwater Management Program focuses on the management of the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff resulting from land-disturbing activities. It is the goal of the program to protect properties, safeguard the general health, safety, and welfare of the public, and to preserve aquatic resources. Program administration, plan review, inspection, and enforcement is achieved using the specifications and guidelines set forth in the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook, 1999.
A bond is required with the County ensuring compliance with the County’s Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinances and Stormwater Management Ordinances. The County accepts a certified letter of credit, a surety bond, or a cash bond.
The bond will be returned or released upon final completion of the project as determined by the County (i.e., all post stormwater management ponds are installed and as-built drawings received, all denuded areas are stabilized and vegetated, etc.). A formal letter acknowledging the release of the bond and the original letter/surety will be mailed to the entity that posted the bond.
Land Disturbance Permit
The County requires a Land Disturbance Permit if a proposed development is greater than 10,000 square feet in land disturbance (not to include agricultural operations) or if the site is located within a greater plan of development, such as a subdivision, etc.
This permit must be obtained prior to beginning any construction or earthwork activity. The County offers an Agreement in Lieu of a Plan on single family dwellings disturbing less than one acre.
For agricultural project details and exemptions, please see the Rockingham County Code of Ordinances Chapter 6B – Erosion and Sediment Control.
Obtaining a Permit:
In order to obtain a Land Disturbance Permit, the following must be submitted to and approved by the Environmental Manager:
- A completed Land Disturbance Permit Application Form
- An approved engineered erosion and sediment control plan and narrative
- Environmental plan review and Land Disturbance Permit fees
- A surety bond
- An approved engineered stormwater management plan (if disturbing more than one acre)
- A copy of the Virginia Stormwater Management Plan (VSMP) permit registration statement (if disturbing greater than one acre)
- Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMP) Exhibit
- A certified Responsible Land Disturber (RLD)
- Other documents deemed necessary by the County Environmental Manager
Inspections and Enforcement
All development sites are inspected by County staff on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the approved site plan. Site visit frequency is based upon a score each project receives from the County’s rating form determining whether the project will be inspected on a two, four, or eight-week schedule. Every site in the County is subject to the same rating system and inspection cycle, including single-family dwellings.
During an inspection, every effort is made to contact the owner or responsible party on site to ensure they understand all comments or corrections noted by the County Inspector.
When adequate site stabilization has been achieved (i.e. vegetative growth), a final site inspection is conducted by both the County Inspector and Environmental Manager to determine if the development is ready for bond release or occupancy. A final inspection must be passed prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy – even if all other County/Town site and building requirements have been met.
When violations of the County ordinance or deviations from the approved plan are discovered through the inspection program, progressive enforcement actions outlined in the County ordinance are closely followed and documented. A reinspection fee of $100 may be imposed on single-family dwelling projects failing consecutive inspections. Enforcement actions can include but are not limited to notices of violation, stop work orders, and civil actions involving fines and other penalties.
Development In the Floodplain
Per the Rockingham County Code of Ordinances Chapter 6D – Floodplain Management, the purpose of a floodplain ordinance is to prevent the loss of life and property, the creation of health and safety hazards, the disruption of commerce and governmental services, extraordinary and unnecessary expenditure of public funds for flood protection and relief, and the impairment of tax base by:
- Regulating uses, activities, and development which, alone or in combination with other existing or future uses, activities, and development, will cause unacceptable increases in flood heights, velocities, and frequencies.
- Restricting or prohibiting certain uses, activities, and development from locating within districts subject to flooding.
- Requiring all those uses, activities, and developments that do occur in flood-prone districts to be protected and/or floodproofed against flooding and flood damage.
- Protecting individuals from buying land and structures which are unsuited for intended purposes because of flood hazards.
Prior to constructing, improving, or locating any permanent residential or commercial structure (to include, but not limited to: addition, accessory building, deck, pool, doghouse, HVAC unit, tank, fence, etc.) in a Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Special Flood Hazard Area, please contact the County Floodplain Manager to review floodplain development permit requirements and best construction practices.
Benefits of the Floodplain
In addition to safeguarding public health and safety, floodplains are also regulated because of the flood risk reduction benefits they provide by slowing runoff and storing flood water. They provide other benefits of considerable economic, social, and environmental value. Floodplains frequently contain wetlands and other important ecological areas which directly affect the quality of the local environment. Some of the benefits of floodplains to a functioning natural system include:
- Fish and wildlife habitat protection
- Natural flood and erosion control
- Surface water quality maintenance
- Groundwater recharge
- Biological productivity
- Higher quality recreational opportunities (fishing, bird watching, boating, etc.)