EMC Defines “Gravel”…For Now

During the recent legislative session, N.C.G.S. 143-214.7 was amended to exclude gravel from the definition of “built-upon area” (SL2013-413, section 51 ). BASE strongly supported this legislative change as it enabled “gravel” to the considered the same way as slatted decks and swimming pools when calculating built upon area.   As part of this bill, the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) was required to “amend its rules to be consistent with the definition of “built upon area.”

According to the EMC, the legislation, however, did not define the term “gravel.”  Since the statute amendment became effective in August, the EMC claims that the regulated community has questioned how to interpret the imprecise use of the term “gravel” in the amended statute.  Therefore, the EMC is pursuing temporary rulemaking to “define the term used in the amended statute in accordance with industry standards, to prevent adverse environmental impacts, and to direct the regulated community to the established guidelines set forth in the DEMLR’s best management practices for stormwater control.”

The EMC took action on the proposed rule at their meeting on March 13. In January, a public hearing was held to get feedback on the issue.  Since the public hearing, the proposed rule has been adjusted. The adjusted rule, which was approved by the EMC states:

“Gravel” means a clean or washed, loose, uniformly-graded aggregate of stones from a lower limit of 0.08 inches up to 3.0 inches in size.

What comes next? The option always exists for the legislature to go back and tweak this definition when they return in May. One of the proposals being considered by the Environmental Review Commission would negate any definition of “gravel” as passed by the EMC. Click here to see what the General Assembly may have in store.

The short version is stay tuned. And be sure to call BASE before you put down any small aggregate, to ensure that what you intend to use is actually “gravel”

BASE’s formal comments to the EMC are attached below.

406_BASE comments on temporary rule re_ gravel_

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