When beginning a home renovation, the details of stormwater management are just as important as the interior and exterior design details. The County regulates all development activity, including single family homes, as part of the strategy to meet both the regulatory and policy goals articulated in the Stormwater Master Plan. The following are some common questions related to single family home renovations and the associated stormwater requirements.
Do all home renovations require stormwater management?
No. The requirement for stormwater management is triggered by the amount of land that will be impacted during your construction project. If the area of land disturbance is 2,500 square feet or greater, you will be required to manage stormwater runoff. The area of land disturbance is calculated by adding the size of the home addition, plus the other areas on your lot where the soil will be disturbed during the construction (access paths for construction vehicles, material storage areas, etc.). A new building footprint of 1,000 square feet or greater usually results in more than 2,500 square feet of land disturbance. For more information, please visit the Land Disturbing Activity Permit page or call 703-228-0129.
As long as it meets the project’s treatment requirements, property owners can choose the stormwater management facility. Stormwater planters, rain gardens and permeable pavement are examples of stormwater facilities. The Stormwater Manual: A Guide to Stormwater Requirements for Land Disturbing Activities in Arlington County contains detailed information about stormwater facilities.
Why does Arlington require stormwater management for single family home projects?
Single family home redevelopment is the largest source of new stormwater runoff from all building activity in Arlington. Since July 2013, 86 percent of all new impervious surfaces (e.g., pavement, rooftops, etc.) have come from single family home projects.
The new state and federal regulations passed in 2014 established a pollution reduction goal for Arlington that must achieved by 2028. If single family home development was not regulated, Arlington would be required to install stormwater projects in other locations to make up for the additional stormwater generated on private property. This would be a significant challenge because:
- There isn’t a lot of public space in the County that is suitable for the construction of stormwater practices. Purchasing land would be very expensive.
- Many of the potential spaces to install these practices would be in the parking lanes of Arlington’s streets. (Stormwater practices need to be where the stormwater is found, like in the street’s curb and gutter.) Many residents do not wish to see their on-street parking impacted.
- The cost of these additional projects would be passed onto Arlington residents, in addition to the existing stormwater projects that the County is planning and installing.
My neighbor’s new construction has sent additional stormwater onto my property. What can the County do to help me?
We often receive reports from residents that are impacted by runoff from construction on a neighboring property. The County’s best tool to address runoff is through the stormwater management requirements for projects that disturb 2,500 square feet and more. The County does not have another method to address runoff from private property. County policies related to drainage from private property are found on the Property Drainage webpage.