Phase III of local government implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act requires the 84 Tidewater local governments to review local land development ordinances, and revise them if necessary, in order to ensure these ordinances adequately address the protection of the quality of state waters. An important element of Phase III is the requirement for local ordinances to have specific standards to ensure that development in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas minimizes land disturbance, preserves indigenous vegetation, and minimizes impervious cover, as well as six specific requirements for approved plats and development plans. Phase III will also involve the identification and resolution of obstacles and conflicts to achieving the water quality goals of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act within local programs and ordinances.
On June 15, 2009, the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board approved a Phase III review approach that will assess the extent to which Bay Act localities are in compliance with these requirements. To assist local governments in reviewing local ordinances, the Board has developed two checklists. The Plan and Plat Consistency Review Checklist will determine if a locality has addressed the six-site plan and plat provisions that must be contained in local ordinances, as they are specifically required by the regulations. The Checklist for Advisory Review of Local Ordinances will determine if there are adequate provisions to address the three performance criteria and contains numerous examples of requirements that may be contained within a locality’s land development ordinances.
Over the next 18 months, DCR staff will work with local government staff to evaluate local ordinances and processes to determine the extent to which specific provisions exist to enable the locality to implement the requirements of the Regulations described above. Based on this review, localities may choose to modify ordinances and processes to address development standards that benefit water quality. The information gained from the advisory review will also be used by DCR staff during the next formal evaluation of the local Bay Act Program implementation that occurs approximately every five years.
For further information about the Phase III advisory reviews please contact:
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Bay Act Staff
900 East Main Street, 8th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219