Update on gravel legislation

Senate Bill 734 was signed into law on 9/18/2014 and is now Session Law 2014-120 .  The section that pertains to gravel begins on Page 31.  In brief, the session law amends the definition of “built-upon area” such that “gravel” is no longer excluded from being considered “built-upon area.”  The bill also prohibits the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) from defining the term “gravel” in the context of its stormwater programs (including Water Supply, Phase 2, Coastal stormwater).

For those who are interested, here’s a quick review of gravel’s recent journey through law and rule and what it means for you now:

·         Session Law 2013-413 amended NCGS 143-214.7 (stormwater programs), removing “gravel” from the definition of “built-upon area.”  This amended definition of “built-upon area” went into effect in August 2013 and remained in effect until 9/18/2014 when SB734 was signed into law.  The definition of “built-upon area” in NCGS 143-214.7 applies to all the state’s stormwater programs, including Water Supply Watershed, Phase 2, and Coastal stormwater programs.

·         In response to SL 2013-413, the EMC passed a temporary amendment to Rule 15A NCAC 2H .1002 (stormwater definitions), defining the term “gravel.”  The temporary rule went into effect March 28, 2014.

·         Temporary rule 15A NCAC 2H .1002  is still in effect today except for the two definitions that were changed by SL 2014-120 (“built-upon area” and “gravel”).  You should refer to SL 2014-120 for the current definition of “built-upon area.”

·         A permanent rulemaking to replace the temporary rule is currently in progress and will continue, although with revisions in light of SL 2014-120.   The proposed permanent rule will be revised to 1) incorporate the change to the definition of “built-upon area,” and 2) strike out the definition of “gravel”.  All other proposed changes, which are mostly technical in nature, are going forward. The public comment period  for the permanent rulemaking is open until September 30, 2014

.  Your comments are still invited.

·         Starting 9/18/2014, DENR began implementing the definition of “built-upon area” as written in SL 2014-120.

·         Local governments who have delegated stormwater programs such as Phase 2/Water Supply do not need to take any  action as a result of this new legislationunless your ordinance currently excludes gravel from built-upon area.

·         Note that this statute and associated rule (15A NCAC 2H .1002) apply only to stormwater programs.  They do not affect laws and rules relating to forestry or agriculture operations or sediment and erosion control programs.

Contact Julie Ventaloro with DEMLR if you have any questions.
Ph:  919-807-6370
Email:   Julie.ventaloro@ncdenr.gov

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