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    City of Wilmington / County of New Hanover

    The City of Wilmington has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in order to establish minimum stormwater management requirements and controls to protect and safeguard the general health, safety, and welfare of the public residing in watersheds within this jurisdiction.  The City of Wilmington is the permitting authority for all land disturbing activities and requires the land owner to maintain all on-site stormwater control facilities and all open space areas (e.g. parks or “green” areas) required by the approved stormwater control plan. The City of Wilmington will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. The City of Wilmington, under the NPDES program, also has the authority to inspect properties for noncompliance and can issue a notice of violation (NOV) for any deficiency or infraction onsite. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of any stormwater facilities or practices located on the property. The City of Wilmington has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they are properly maintained and functioning.



    Division I - Stormwater Utility and Fees

    Sec. 12-12. - Stormwater Utility

    A stormwater utility is hereby established to provide stormwater management services, as authorized by state law. Stormwater service charges will be determined and modified from time to time so that the total revenues generated by said charges will be used to pay the principal of and interest on the debt incurred for stormwater purposes and such expenses as are reasonably necessary or convenient, in the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of the stormwater system.

    Sec. 12-13. - Service charges, rates and fee schedule.

    (a) Stormwater service charges shall accrue beginning on July 1, 1998. Stormwater service charges shall apply to all property within the city limits that is served by the city's stormwater system without regard to ownership, except as set forth in section 12-14. Such charges shall be based on the amount of impervious surface on each parcel as determined by the equivalent residential unit standard. For purposes of this article, an "equivalent residential unit (ERU)" is two thousand five hundred (2,500) square feet of impervious surface.

    (b) The city council shall set a base rate for single-family residential uses and charges for non-single-family residential uses shall be calculated utilizing the equivalent residential unit. For purposes of this article, a "non-single-family residential use" shall be any land use other than single-family residential, except for undeveloped land.

    (Ord. No. O-2009-93, § 1, 9-15-09)

    Sec. 12-14. - Exemptions and credits.

    (a) Only undeveloped land shall be exempt from stormwater service fees. All other parcels including public road rights-of-way maintained by the City of Wilmington shall not be exempt from stormwater service charges.

    (b) Properties subject to stormwater service fees may be granted credits against the fees in accordance with a credit policy manual developed by the city manager and referenced in the City of Wilmington Fee Schedule. Any non-single-family residential use that provides measures to mitigate the impacts of runoff on the stormwater system shall be eligible for a maximum credit of forty (40) percent of the service fee. The amount of the credit shall be proportional to the extent the measures address the impacts on peak discharge, total runoff volume and water quality as compared to applicable city, state and federal standards. Water quantity and water quality measures shall each be eligible for a twenty (20) percent maximum credit. Any credit allowance shall be conditional on continuing compliance with applicable standards, including requirements for operation and maintenance. Subject to approval in accordance with the credit policy, any credits shall be effective on the date of application therefore.



    Sec. 18-782. - Operation and maintenance agreement.

    a) General. Prior to the conveyance or transfer of any lot or building site to be served by a structural BMP pursuant to this ordinance, and prior to issuance of any permit for development or redevelopment requiring a structural BMP pursuant to this ordinance, the applicant or owner of the site must execute an operation and maintenance agreement that shall be binding on all subsequent owners of the site, portions of the site, and lots or parcels served by the structural BMP. Until the transference of all property, sites, or lots served by the structural BMP, the original owner or applicant shall have primary responsibility for carrying out the provisions of the maintenance agreements.

    The operation and maintenance agreement shall require the owner or owners to maintain, repair and, if necessary, reconstruct the structural BMP, and shall state the terms, conditions, and schedule of maintenance for the structural BMP. In addition, it shall grant to the city a right of entry in the event that the city manager, or his designee, has reason to believe it has become necessary to inspect, monitor, maintain, repair, or reconstruct the structural BMP; however, in no case shall the right of entry, of itself, confer an obligation on the city to assume responsibility for the structural BMP. 

    The operation and maintenance agreement must be approved by the city prior to plan approval, and it shall be referenced on the final plat and shall be recorded with the county register of deeds upon final plat approval. A copy of the recorded maintenance agreement shall be given to the city manager within fourteen (14) days following its recordation. 

    Conveyance of the property shall not terminate the original developer's obligations under this article until such time as a replacement permit is approved by the city manager. The original developer shall include in the deed conveying the property notice of the existence of the stormwater control measures and the purchaser's obligations to maintain and inspect them and to obtain a permit and otherwise comply with the terms of this article. 

    (b) Special requirement for homeowner and other associations. For all structural BMPs required pursuant to this ordinance and that are to be or are owned and maintained by a homeowner association, property owner association, or similar entity, the required operation and maintenance agreement shall include all of the following provisions: 

    (1) Acknowledgment that the association shall continuously operate and maintain the stormwater control and management facilities. 

    (2) Granting to the city a right of entry to inspect, monitor, maintain, repair, and reconstruct structural BMPs. 

    (3) Allowing the city to recover from the association and its members any and all costs the city expends to maintain or repair the structural BMPs or to correct any operational deficiencies. Failure to pay the city all of its expended costs, after forty-five (45) days' written notice, shall constitute a breach of the agreement. In case of a deficiency, the city shall thereafter be entitled to bring an action against the association and its members to pay, or foreclose upon the lien hereby authorized by the agreement against the property, or both. Interest, collection costs, and attorney fees shall be added to the recovery. 

    (4) A statement that this agreement shall not obligate the city to maintain or repair any structural BMPs, and the city shall not be liable to any person for the condition or operation of structural BMPs. 

    (5) A statement that this agreement shall not in any way diminish, limit, or restrict the right of the city to enforce any of its ordinances as authorized by law. 

    (6) A provision indemnifying and holding harmless the city for any costs and injuries arising from or related to the structural BMP, unless the city has agreed in writing to assume the maintenance responsibility for the BMP and has accepted dedication of any and all rights necessary to carry out that maintenance. 

    Sec. 18-783. Inspection Program 

    Inspections and inspection programs by the city may be conducted or established on any reasonable basis, including but not limited to routine inspections; random inspections; inspections based upon complaints or other notice of possible violations; and joint inspections with other agencies inspecting under environmental, zoning, or safety laws. Inspections may include, but are not limited to, reviewing maintenance and repair records; sampling discharges, surface water, groundwater, and material or water in BMPs; and evaluating the condition of BMPs. 

    If the owner or occupant of any property refuses to permit such inspection, the city shall proceed to obtain an administrative search warrant pursuant to G.S. 15-27.2 or its successor. No person shall obstruct, hamper, or interfere with the city personnel while carrying out his or her official duties. 

    Sec. 18-785. - Records of installation and maintenance activities. 

    The owner of each structural BMP shall keep records of inspections, maintenance, and repairs for at least five (5) years from the date of creation of the record and shall submit the same upon reasonable request to the city manager. 


    Wilmington Code of Ordinances