County Board Approves Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map Update

Published on June 20, 2017

UPDATED July 15, 2017: The Arlington County Board voted 5-0 today to accept an update to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area map. To read the staff report, visit the County website and scroll down to Item No. 50 on the Agenda for the July 15, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting. 

Below is the news release issued after the June 20, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting, in which the Board approved a request to advertise the July 15 hearing.

Public Hearings Set for Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Map Update

The Arlington County Board will hold a public hearing on an update to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area map,  also called the Resource Protection Area (RPA) map, on July 15, 2017. The updated map includes additional streams and wetlands defined by the County's Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance as Resource Protection Areas. It also includes a number of corrections based on more accurate field data. The Board also set a public hearing before the Planning Commission on the proposed update for July 5, 2017.

The more accurate map will help Arlington protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams and ensure that the County can comply with local and State regulations.  It will allow the County to review development projects fairly and provide accurate information to residents and other stakeholders.

Corrections and the addition of a number of streams and wetlands to the updated map will remove RPA designations from 280 parcels, and will add the designation to 196 parcels. The total number of parcels in the County with the RPA designation will decrease from 1,523 to 1,439.

The RPA map identifies streams, wetlands, and tidal shores in Arlington, as well as a 100-foot buffer around these environmentally-sensitive areas. The RPA map was last revised in 2003, when the County Board also adopted a comprehensive update to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.  Since that update, the County has collected data for its Natural Resources Management Plan (2010) and Stormwater Master Plan (2014), yielding more accurate information about Arlington's water resources.

When a RPA is designated, buildings already existing on a parcel are "grandfathered" and can be maintained, repaired or replaced in kind under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance. However, new projects such as a home addition, or building a new home on properties adjacent to a stream or wetland, must be permitted and may require mitigation for potential water quality impacts. Mitigation requests usually include the addition of native vegetation, the removal of invasive plants or additional stormwater

[caption id="attachment_12543" align="alignright" width="225"]Windy Run A home near Windy Run.[/caption]

management requirements.

Property owners affected by the map update were notified in June 2016. The County held several public meetings to provide information about the map update and answer property owner questions. County staff have also met individually with affected property owners.

The revised RPA map will be considered by the County Board for adoption at the July 15, 2017, meeting. If adopted, the new map would take effect in January 2018.

The Board voted 5 to 0 to advertise public hearings on the updated map. To read the staff report on the proposed update to the map, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item No. 42 on the Agenda for the June 20, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting.

For information on speaking at a Board Meeting, visit the County website.

Read the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance.