Builders Win in Vermont Case on Storm Water Permits
In a victory for home builders and home buyers, the Vermont Supreme Court on Aug. 25 reversed a regulatory ruling by the state requiring a permit under the federal Clean Water Act for all development involving the discharge of storm water into an impaired body of water.
NAHB had joined the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Vermont in a friend of the court brief, arguing that permits should only be required on a case-by-base basis, because not every storm water discharge contributes to a violation of water quality standards.
In 2003, the Conservation Law Foundation petitioned the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to use its “residual designation authority” (RDA) to require storm water permits for certain discharges into five impaired bodies of water. Believing that its RDA was discretionary, not mandatory, the agency denied the petition.
The foundation then appealed the denial of its petition to the Vermont Water Resources Board, which reversed the agency decision, concluding that in two earlier decisions it had conclusively established that each and every discharge of storm water into the bodies of water in question contributed to a violation of water quality standards.
The Agency of Natural Resources then appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court.
In its amicus brief, NAHB explained that the RDA, which originates in the Clean Water Act, is not a mandatory authority and even when exercised, does not oblige the permitting agency to issue permits to control all storm water discharges, outside of the categories of discharges specified for regulation in the Clean Water Act. NAHB also explained to the court that the RDA must not be exercised categorically.
Agreeing with NAHB’s position, the court reversed the decision of the Water Quality Board and sent the matter back to the Agency of Natural Resources.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
'Storm Water Permitting: A Guide for Builders and Developers' Available at BuilderBooks.com
“Storm Water Permitting: A Guide for Builders and Developers,” available through BuilderBooks.com, provides a starting point for builders and developers to use in locating and understanding storm water permitting requirements.
The publication has been prepared to help builders comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's storm water requirements, and includes information on state permitting programs and more than 50 of the most commonly used Best Management Practices.
Also included are tips on compliance, including how to handle visits from inspectors.
To view or purchase this guide online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.