Single Lot Permits Would Improve Stormwater Regulation
NAHB is still waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to respond to a proposal it sent to the agency in November on clarifying and simplifying the Clean Water Act permitting process for stormwater discharges from many smaller builders.
To streamline the process and better distinguish the responsibilities of the builder from those of the developer, the association drafted a single lot construction permit to cover stormwater discharges from residential construction activities occurring on small lots within a larger subdivision.
The EPA requires builders to obtain a Construction General Permit for residential construction sites that are one or more acres in size or that are part of a development that is one or more acres — in effect, requiring an individual permit for every lot within a subdivision.
However, the permit includes a number of requirements that do not apply to a company building one home on a single lot, such as sediment and erosion control measures for sites of 10 or more disturbed acres.
Over the past several years, NAHB members have expressed their concerns about the difficulty of understanding some of these permit requirements and figuring out how to comply with them.
For example, it would be far easier to specify the location of a lot by its street address than by indicating its latitude and longitude, members have complained.
The proposed permit for building on a single lot would protect the environment, specify more relevant permit requirements for small residential builders and increase compliance rates, especially for small businesses, NAHB says.
With the current stormwater CGP expiring soon, the EPA is expected to issue a draft replacement permit in the next few months and leaders of the NAHB Environmental Issues Committee are hoping that it will include the provisions of the proposed single lot permit.
The CGP applies to states in which EPA is the direct permitting authority, including Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico and the District of Columbia. It also applies in other states at certain federal facilities and on Indian lands.
Although most other states are authorized to issue their own stormwater permits, they do look to the federal permit as their model.
The single lot permit concept has recently been adopted as part of the stormwater regulatory programs of the city of Lincoln, Neb. and the state of Maryland.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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