Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act
The City of Poquoson is subject to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (Bay Act) and has adopted specific program elements as established under the Bay Act and the accompanying Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations.
The Bay Act was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the most valuable estuarine systems in the world, providing economic and social benefits to the Commonwealth. The Bay Act is also a critical element of Virginia's non-point source management program.
The purpose of the Bay Act program is to protect and improve water quality in local waters and the Chesapeake Bay by requiring the implementation of effective land use and development management practices.
Local Bay Act programs must include:
- A map generally depicting Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas (CBPAs).
- Performance criteria applying in CBPAs that pertain to the use, development and redevelopment of land.
- A comprehensive plan that incorporates the protection of CBPAs and quality of state waters in the locality.
- Zoning or other ordinance that incorporates measures to protect the quality of state waters within CBPAs and requires compliance with the performance criteria.
- A subdivision ordinance that incorporates measures to protect the quality of state waters in CBPAs and ensures that all subdivisions in CBPAs comply with the performance criteria.
- A plan of development process prior to the issuance of a building permit to ensure that the use and development of land in CBPAs is accomplished in a manner that protects the quality of state waters.
- A website that publishes the above required elements and criteria adopted to implement the local program.
Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas
Chesapeake Bay Preservations Areas include Resource Protection Areas and Resource Management Areas. The Resource Protection Area (RPA) includes tidal wetlands; tidal shores; non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to tidal wetlands or water bodies with perennial flow; and a one hundred (100) foot vegetated buffer located adjacent to and landward of the components listed above and along all water bodies with perennial flow. The Resource Management Area (RMA) includes land types that, if improperly used or developed, have a potential for degrading water quality or diminishing the functional value of the RPA. The RMA must be provided contiguous to the entire inland boundary of the RPA. The RMA within Poquoson has been designated as jurisdiction wide.
Locally designated Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas have been depicted on adopted Bay Act maps for Poquoson. These maps are to be used as a guide for applicants and local staff as to the general location of RPAs and RMAs on lots and parcels and should be used for planning purposes only. Once a project is proposed, a site-specific location of the RPA and the RMA must be determined using the processes specific to the City.
Local Program Implementation
Under the Bay Act framework, Poquoson is responsible for implementing its Bay Act program. Poquoson has adopted ordinance provisions that incorporate the performance criteria required by the Bay Act. Those provisions include ARTICLE XI.IV and can be found in the zoning ordinance.
As outlined in the ordinance and required by the Bay Act and Regulations, land development and disturbance in a Resource Protection Area is limited and the City of Poquoson requires a major or minor Water Quality Impact Assessment (WQIA) in accordance with section 11.4-5(b), except for exemptions described in 11.4-13(b). For example, as part of, or prior to, the zoning application or plan review process, or during the review of a water quality impact assessment, any proposed development in the RPA is reviewed to ensure it meets applicable requirements, including a site-specific RPA delineation using a DEQ-approved protocol and the submission of a WQIA.
The Poquoson Bay Act program is implemented by the Environmental Compliance Officer (Laura Nusz; Laura.Nusz@poquoson-va.gov), who should be contacted as early in the project decision-making process as possible, including application for a building permit, to determine what steps may need to be taken for compliance with the local Bay Act program.
Additionally, the City's comprehensive plan incorporates the protection of CBPAs and quality and protection of waters in the locality. The City's comprehensive plan includes these considerations in Chapter 5- Environmental Management.
Additional information concerning the Poquoson's Bay Act program can be found by contacting the Environmental Compliance Officer (Laura Nusz; Laura.Nusz@poquoson-va.gov) at the City.
Information regarding the Bay Act and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s role in providing general program oversight and technical assistance to Poquoson is available on the DEQ website.
The following websites also include helpful information: