Mayor and Council

   For the meeting on:

  November 19, 2012
   Department:   Public Works
   Division:  Environmental Management
   Responsible staff:  Arthur Ray, Environmental Policy Analyst
  phone: (240) 314 - 8876

Public Hearing for Ordinance to Amend Rockville City Code Chapter 19, "Stormwater Management and Sediment Control" so as to comply with the Requirements of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.17.01 and the 2011 Maryland Standards and Specifications; Providing for the Establishment of Specific Policies and Procedures that Require the Consideration of Sediment Control Measures at the Earliest Stages in the Planning Process and the Integration of Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Measures into the Development Program; and to Further Amend Chapter 19 by Adding Certain New Definitions; and by Generally Revising and Amending the Provisions of Chapter 19 of the Rockville City Code.

Staff recommends that the Mayor and Council conduct a public hearing and set a date for the close of the public comment period. Staff recommends that the public comment period be closed on November 26, 2012.

Change in Law or Policy
This amended ordinance repeals and re-enacts in its entirety City Code Chapter 19, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management. The corresponding implementing regulations are also being revised to be consistent with the amended ordinance.

These changes were initiated in response to a January 2012 State rule-making from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) that mandates local governments adopt certain stormwater and erosion control requirements and submit them to MDE for approval by the end of January 2013. The new State requirements include more stringent site stabilization (vegetation) and grading criteria for construction projects. They also mandate a more comprehensive local government review of proposed erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plans. Staff also seeks to make administrative and clarifying amendments to Chapter 19. These amendments are intended to make Rockville's plan and permit processes easier to navigate and to establish an expedited process for small projects.

Stormwater is excess rain or snow melt that does not soak into the ground, but rather runs off into City or privately owned storm drains and waterways. Stormwater is harmful in two respects. First, the volume and velocity of the stormwater can cause erosive impacts to stream banks and stream bottoms. Second, the stormwater collects pollutants as it flows across the land's surface and transports them to the receiving stream. There are separate regulatory requirements that apply to construction sites and post-construction properties.

Rockville adopted the first local sediment and erosion control and stormwater management programs in Maryland in 1978. The State, through MDE, has required local jurisdictions to control runoff since 1982. MDE sets minimum technical standards outlining when, and to what extent, stormwater treatment and sediment controls are necessary. In turn, local governments are required to adopt and implement similar requirements. Persons proposing to undertake construction must propose measures for capturing and treating the stormwater and submit these to the local government for review and approval.

The Mayor and Council last amended Chapter 19 on June 7, 2010. Those amendments reflected the City's response to the Maryland Stormwater Act of 2007and the corresponding changes in MDE's implementing regulations. Since that time, staff has identified parts of the City's existing ordinance that might benefit from some additional clarification. Staff is also proposing to make the ordinance more user friendly and easier to understand through amendments that reorganize part of the text without changing its stringency.

Chapter 19
Chapter 19 is currently divided into six articles as follows:

Article I - In General
Article II - Administration
Article III - Permits
Article IV - Stormwater Management
Article V - Sediment Control
Article VI - Stormwater Utility Fee

This proposed ordinance repeals and re-enacts Chapter 19 as follows:

Article I - In General
Article II – Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement
Article III - Permits
Article IV - Stormwater Management
Article V - Erosion and Sediment Control
Article VI - Stormwater Utility Fee

Staff is proposing this repeal and re-enact approach because the recommended amendments reverberate throughout the entire Chapter and make the text very difficult to follow in a red line version. For example, there are compliance and enforcement provisions in almost every article. Staff proposes to consolidate these into a single Compliance and Enforcement Section that applies to the entire Chapter. Attachment A provides the full text of Chapter 19. Attachment B provides the full text of the proposed ordinance's implementing regulations. Attachment C is a detailed summary of the changes in both the proposed ordinance and the revised regulations.

Summary of Changes
Article I. In General
Several definitions were added to this section to clarify and explain the Ordinance terminology. Staff has also relocated existing definitions that are currently scattered across other Articles in the Chapter.

Article II. Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement
As previously mentioned, the Compliance and Enforcement related provisions of the current ordinance are spread throughout the text. Since many of these apply to the entire Chapter, staff has eliminated this redundancy by consolidating them in this Article. This action does not add or delete any enforcement authority set out in the current law. Please note that several provisions that are only germane to Stormwater Management or Sediment and Erosion were retained in those Articles and not consolidated here.

Article III. Permits
The proposed plan review and permit approval processes and decision criteria have been consolidated in this Article.

Article IV. Stormwater Management
The amendments to this Article are generally clarifying and organizational in nature and do not alter the stringency of requirements in the current ordinance. In addition, staff has proposed an expedited process for smaller construction projects. Staff has also added some flexibility regarding compliance with these existing requirements.

Article V. Erosion and Sediment Control
Per State mandate, this section has undergone the most extensive revisions. The State is requiring that Rockville use a three-step process to review and approve construction projects in the City. A similar three-step stormwater process was mandated in 2010 and appears in the current Article IV. The first step is a Concept Plan review and approval. The second step is the review and approval of a Site Development Plan. The final phase of the approval process is the review and approval of a Sediment Control Construction Plan. This final plan includes a demonstration of how the applicant plans to minimize erosion and prevent sediment and other pollutants from leaving the construction site during a precipitation event.

In addition, the amended ordinance updates the incorporation of a State Sediment Control Manual (revised in 2011) and describes an expedited plan and approval process for smaller projects (for example, those on less than a one-half acre and that disturb less than 5,000 square feet of the property, or involve grading less than 100 yards of earth).

The amendments also clarify those projects that will be grandfathered under the current law. Projects that received Sediment Control Plan approvals on or before January 31, 2013 will remain subject to the current law through the end of construction provided that grading activities start on or before January 31, 2015. If grading does not begin on or before January 31, 2015, those projects will need to submit a new Sediment Control Plan. All projects that receive Sediment Control Plan approval after January 31, 2013 must comply with the requirements of the amended Ordinance and revised regulations.

Article VI. Stormwater Management Utility
The only amendment being proposed to this Article is a renumbering of several sections.

Mayor and Council History
At its meeting on October 8, 2012, the Mayor and Council introduced the amended ordinance. The revised regulations were also made available for public comment. In addition, the Mayor and Council directed staff to schedule a public hearing on November 19, 2012 and requested that Staff prepare a brief written summary of the amended ordinance and revised regulations to facilitate the public's review of these documents.

Public Notification and Engagement
The Environment Commission was briefed on the amended ordinance and the revised regulations at its September 2012 meeting. The Commission submitted comments which were incorporated into the respective draft documents prior to their October 2012 transmission to the Mayor and Council for Introduction.

On August 28, 2012, pursuant to State law, City staff submitted a preliminary draft of the amended ordinance and revised regulations to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for review. Staff received MDE comments on these documents on October 12, 2012. The MDE comments are minor in nature and will be incorporated along with other public comments the City receives during the public comment period.

On September 27, 2012, Staff met with representatives from developers, construction firms, and engineering firms and briefed them on the amended ordinance and revised regulations.

The amended ordinance and revised regulations were also described in the October issue of Rockville Reports.

Interested residents and businesses may obtain copies of the amended ordinance and revised regulations via the City website. They may also contact Arthur Ray by telephone at (240) 314-8876 or by email at

Next Steps
The State imposed deadline for adoption of the amended ordinance and revised regulations is January 28, 2013.

Once the public comment period closes, the Staff will prepare a summary of the comments received and incorporate these comments into an updated version of the amended ordinance and revised regulations. In turn, these documents will be transmitted to the Mayor and Council as part of the briefing package for a Discussion and Instructionagenda item currently scheduled for December 10, 2012.

The Mayor and Council adoption of the amended ordinance is currently scheduled for January 14, 2013. At that time, a resolution endorsing the regulations will also be considered.

Attachment A - Chapter 19 (2012 Amendments).pdfAttachment A - Chapter 19 (2012 Amendments).pdf

Attachment B Chapter19  Regulations 09_28_12(1.pdfAttachment B Chapter19 Regulations 09_28_12(1.pdf

Attachment C - Chapter 19 Summary.pdfAttachment C - Chapter 19 Summary.pdf

Department Head:

Craig Simoneau, Director of Public Works
Approved on: 11/09/2012

City Manager:

Approved on: 11/13/2012