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What is the Water Resources Protection Program?

Over the past few years the City has been working hard to develop solutions to address increasingly stringent stormwater regulations and manage the City's water resources.  A Water Resources Protection Program (WRPP) is being implemented to address these challenges in an economically practicable and sustainable manner. The WRPP is designed to comply with federal and state stormwater regulations, rehabilitate the City's aging stormwater system, address drainage and flooding problems, and pursue environmental stewardship.

What is a stormwater utility fee?
The City has adopted a stormwater utility fee to provide an adequate and stable source of funding for the WRPP. A stormwater utility fee is a "fee for service" based on the amount of impervious surface area on a property (roofs, parking areas, sidewalks, etc.). This approach has several advantages. First, it fairly distributes the cost of the City’s stormwater services across all eligible properties based on the amount of impervious surface. Second, under State Law, the revenue from fees must be placed in a fund that can only be used for stormwater management activities; therefore establishing a dedicated funding source to accomplish the goals of the WRPP.  To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the WRPP and the stormwater utility CLICK HERE (coming soon).

What will the stormwater utility fee pay for?
Services provided will include:
  • Meeting the increasing state and federal regulatory requirements contained in the City's stormwater permit
  • Repairing and replacing deteriorating stormwater pipes and structures
  • Identifying and implementing capital projects, including the following:
    - Stormwater Retrofits to attain mandated pollution reductions
    - Drainage Improvement projects to address local flooding and drainage issues
    - Major Drainage projects to address needed improvements to the City's stormwater system
    - Stewardship projects to preserve, enhance, and restore the integrity of the City's water resources
  • Developing a City-wide Water Resources Master Plan to identify, select, and prioritize capital projects as described above to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Water Resources Protection Program in an efficient, fair, and equitable manner throughout the city.

Stormwater Utility Spending - Pie Chart

How is the fee calculated?
A stormwater utility is a fee for service and all eligible properties are charged regardless of their tax status. Each eligible property is charged in 500 square foot (SF) increments of impervious surface. Per the City’s Stormwater Utility Ordinance impervious surface is defined as “area covered by hard surfaces such as structures, paving, compacted gravel, concrete, or other man-made features that prevent, restrict, or impede the downward passage of stormwater into the underlying soil.”

Each 500 SF increment of impervious surface represents a “billing unit”.  Fractions are rounded up to the next whole unit. For example, a property that has 2,100 square feet of impervious cover has five billing units (2,100 / 500 = 4.2, rounded to 5 billing units). The number of billing units is then multiplied by the rate adopted by City Council ($1.20 per billing unit per month). Unimproved property (defined as a property with less than 300 square feet of impervious cover) is not assessed a fee.  

House and Driveway Example Fee Calculation

- Total impervious area = 2,100 SF
- Divide by 500 SF (one billing unit): 2,100 / 500 = 4.2
- Round to the next whole number: 4.2 rounds to 5 billing units
- Multiply the number of billing units by the rate ($1.20 per billing unit per month) to determine the annual fee: 5 x $1.20 x 12 = $72 annual fee

To use the City's webGIS tool to see how the stormwater utility will impact you CLICK HERE.
To see your current annual fee click on the above link and check the box to agree to the terms, then click "Enter Site".  Search for a property by any of the search options (Full Address, Owner's Name, Street Number, etc.).  Click on the "Search" button, then click on the desired property in the Property Search Results table. You will be taken to the property's Summary tab; scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see a box labeled "Stormwater Utility Information". 

What do I do if I feel my bill is incorrect?
The City has provided a mechanism for the property owner to submit a Petition for Adjustment to correct discrepancies. To download the Petition for Adjustment form please CLICK HERE.  To complete the Petition for Adjustment form online please CLICK HERE.

Is there anything I can do to reduce my bill?
Yes! There are two ways for you to impact the amount of your payment.  First, property owners can remove impervious surfaces from their property. This will result in a direct fee reduction if the removal of impervious surface results in fewer billing units. Second, the City’s Credit Program provides an opportunity for property owners to reduce their stormwater utility bill by operating and maintaining a stormwater management facility.

What is the City's Credit Program?
A credit is a reduction to the stormwater fee that can be pursued by a property owner if they operate and maintain a stormwater management facility that reduces pollution, helps to control stormwater runoff, or both. There are a wide variety of practices that can be implemented in Charlottesville that qualify for credit, including bioretention facilities, permeable pavement, and green roofs, just to name a few. To find out more about the Credit Program, please CLICK HERE to see the City's Stormwater Utility Fee Credits Manual.  

Bioretention Permeable Pavement Green Roof 2

Bioretention Facility

Permeable Pavement

Green Roof

Are there any incentives besides the Credit Program?
Yes! The City is partnering with the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD) to offer incentives to property owners to engage in stormwater stewardship practices on their properties, known as the Charlottesville Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP).  CCAP provides one-time financial support in the form of a reimbursement to property owners who voluntarily implement water quality stewardship practices such as rain gardens, rainwater harvesting systems, and conversion of lawns to native plants.  CLICK HERE for more information or contact Nicola McGoff, a Conservation Technician with TJSWCD, directly at nicola.mcgoff@tjswcd.org or 434-975-0224, extension 103.     

If you would like to view the Stormwater Utility Ordinance adopted by City Council please CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions or comments, please email stormwater@charlottesville.org or call the Stormwater Utility Information Line at 434-970-3864.

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