[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Springfield 9-9-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Property maintenance — See Ch. 285.
Sewers — See Ch. 300.
Storm drains — See Ch. 334.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 338.
Water — See Ch. 405.
Wetlands — See Ch. 417.
Editor's Note: This ordinance was adopted as Ch. 302 but was renumbered to fit into the organizational structure of the Code.
The purpose of this chapter is to protect, maintain, and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Springfield by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control adverse impacts associated with stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment.
The objectives of this chapter are to:
Establish regulations for land development activities that preserve the health of water resources by reducing the adverse impacts to water quality from stormwater discharge to rivers, lakes, reservoirs and streams in order to attain federal water quality standards;
Require that new development, redevelopment and all land conversion activities maintain the natural hydrologic characteristics of the land in order to reduce flooding, stream bank erosion, siltation, nonpoint source pollution, property damage and to protect the integrity of aquatic habitats and stream channels;
Prevent the discharge of pollutants, including hazardous chemicals, into stormwater runoff;
Minimize the volume and rate of stormwater which is discharged to rivers, streams, reservoirs, lakes and combined sewers that flow from any site during construction and following development;
Prevent erosion and sedimentation from land development, and reduce stream channel erosion caused by increased runoff;
Require post-development runoff volume and quality to be equivalent to or an improvement on pre-development runoff conditions by reducing runoff volumes, increasing infiltration, and improving runoff water quality;
Provide for the recharge of groundwater aquifers and maintain the base flow of streams;
Encourage the use of low-impact development (LID) practices, such as reducing impervious cover, treating and infiltrating stormwater at the source, utilizing environmentally sensitive site design and the preservation of open space and natural areas, to the maximum extent practicable;
Provide stormwater facilities that are functional, attractive, maintain the natural integrity of the environment, and are designed to protect public safety;
Minimize damage to public and private property from flooding;
Require maintenance provisions to ensure the stormwater treatment devices and facilities will continue to function as designed;
Establish procedures for the City's review of stormwater management plans, and for the City's inspection of approved stormwater controls; and
Comply with state and federal statutes and regulations relating to stormwater discharges.
This chapter is not intended to interfere with, abrogate, or annul any other ordinance, rule or regulation, statute or other provision of law. The requirements of this chapter should be considered minimum requirements, and where any provision of this chapter imposes restrictions different from those imposed by any other ordinance, rule or regulation, or other provision of law, whichever provisions are more restrictive or impose higher protective standards for human health or the environment shall be considered to take precedence.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and implementation of this chapter. Additional definitions may be adopted by separate regulation:
- CLEAN WATER ACT
- The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.), as hereinafter amended.
- CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY
- Disturbance of a site by removal or moving of vegetative surface cover or topsoil, grading, excavation, clearing or filling.
- IMPERVIOUS SURFACES
- Any material or structure on or above the ground that prevents water infiltrating the underlying soil. Impervious surfaces include, without limitation, roads, paved parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops.
- LAND DEVELOPMENT
- Any construction activity or land disturbance of a site that is currently in a natural vegetated state or does not contain alteration by man-made activities.
- LAND DISTURBANCE
- Any land clearing, grading, bulldozing, digging or similar activities.
- LOW-IMPACT DEVELOPMENT (LID)
- A set of approaches that seeks to mimic a site's pre-development hydrology by using design techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate and detain runoff close to its source. Instead of conveying, managing and/or treating stormwater in large, end-of-pipe facilities, LID utilizes small-scale, decentralized practices that infiltrate, treat, evaporate, and transpire rainwater and snow melt, including bioretention areas, grassed swales, reducing impervious areas, preservation of open space, development density, lot size and configuration, street design, parking design, and other structural stormwater treatment methods.
- MASSACHUSETTS STORMWATER MANAGEMENT POLICY
- The policy issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and as amended, that coordinates the requirements prescribed by state regulations promulgated under the authority of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (MGL c. 131, § 40) and Massachusetts Clean Waters Act (MGL c. 21, §§ 23 through 56). The policy addresses stormwater impacts through implementation of performance standards to reduce or prevent pollutants from reaching water bodies and control the quantity of runoff from a site.
- Every person who alone, jointly or severally with others: (a) has legal title to any building, structure or parcel of land; or (b) has care, charge or control of any building, structure, or parcel of land in any capacity, including, but not limited to, an agent, executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the holder of legal title; or (c) a lessee under a written lease agreement; or (d) a mortgagee in possession; or (e) an agent, trustee or other person appointed by the courts.
- Any individual, association, partnership, corporation, company, business, organization, trust, estate, administrative agency, public or quasi-public corporation or body, the commonwealth or political subdivision thereof, the federal government, and any other legal entity, its legal representatives, agents, or assigns, to the extent permitted by law.
- The conditions that reasonably may be expected or anticipated to exist after completion of the land development activity on a specific site or tract of land. "Post-development" refers to the phase of a new development or redevelopment project after completion, and does not refer to the construction phase of a project.
- The conditions that exist at the time that plans for the land development of a site are submitted to the Stormwater Authority. Where phased development or plan approval occurs (preliminary grading, roads and utilities, etc.), the existing conditions at the time prior to the first plan submission shall establish pre-development conditions.
- Any construction, alteration, or improvement exceeding land disturbance of 5,000 square feet, where the existing land use is commercial, industrial, institutional, or multifamily residential.
- The parcel of land being developed, or a designated planning area in which the land development or redevelopment project is located.
- STORMWATER AUTHORITY
- The Stormwater Authority shall be the Department of Public Works of the City of Springfield. The Stormwater Authority is responsible for coordinating the review, approval and permit process as defined in this chapter. Other boards and/or departments participate in the review process as defined in the stormwater regulations adopted in accordance with this chapter.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
- The use of structural or nonstructural practices that are designed to reduce stormwater runoff pollutant loads, discharge volumes, and/or peak flow discharge rates. Stormwater management includes the use of LID management practices.
- STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PERMIT (SMP)
- A permit issued by the Stormwater Authority after review of an application, plans, calculations, and other supporting documents, which is designed to protect the environment of the City from the deleterious effects of uncontrolled and untreated stormwater runoff.
Stormwater Authority. The Department of Public Works of the City of Springfield is hereby designated as the Stormwater Authority. The Stormwater Authority shall administer, implement and enforce this chapter. Any powers granted to or duties imposed upon the Stormwater Authority may be delegated in writing by the Stormwater Authority to its employees and agents.
Stormwater regulations. The Stormwater Authority may adopt, and periodically amend, rules and regulations relating to the terms, conditions, definitions, enforcement, fees (including application, inspection, and/or consultant fees), procedures and administration of this chapter after conducting a public hearing to receive comments on any proposed regulations or revisions. Such hearing dates shall be advertised in a newspaper of general local circulation at least seven days prior to the hearing date. After public notice and public hearing, the Stormwater Authority may promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this chapter. Failure by the Stormwater Authority to promulgate such rules and regulations or a legal declaration of their invalidity by a court shall not act to suspend or invalidate the effect of this chapter.
Stormwater Management Manual. The Stormwater Authority will utilize the policy, criteria and information, including specifications and standards, of the latest edition of the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Handbook, for execution of the provisions of this chapter. This policy includes a list of acceptable stormwater treatment practices, including the specific design criteria for each stormwater practice. The policy may be updated and expanded periodically, based on improvements in engineering, science, monitoring, and local maintenance experience. Unless specifically altered in the stormwater regulations, stormwater management practices that are designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with these design and sizing criteria will be presumed to be protective of Massachusetts water quality standards.
Actions by the Stormwater Authority. The Stormwater Authority may take any of the following actions as a result of an application for a stormwater management permit as more specifically defined as part of the stormwater regulations promulgated as a result of this chapter: approval, approval with conditions, disapproval, or disapproval without prejudice.
Appeals of action by the Stormwater Authority. A decision of the Stormwater Authority shall be final. Further relief of a decision by the Stormwater Authority made under this chapter shall be to a court of competent jurisdiction.
Permit or waiver required. Prior to the commencement of construction for any proposed development listed below, a stormwater management permit, or a waiver of the requirement for a stormwater management permit, must be issued by the Stormwater Authority. No person shall, on or after the effective date of this chapter, initiate any land clearing and grubbing, land grading, earth moving or development activities without first complying with this chapter.
Multifamily residential developments involving four or more units;
Any new commercial, industrial, institutional structures under the same ownership, with at least 5,000 square feet of gross floor area, 10,000 square feet of impervious surface, or that require 10 or more parking spaces;
Redevelopment or additions to existing commercial, industrial, and institutional uses which result in an additional impervious surface area or gross floor area of greater than 5,000 square feet, or which results in an increase of 10 or more parking spaces;
Construction activities and subdivisions disturbing greater than or equal to one acre;
Development or redevelopment involving multiple separate activities in discontinuous locations or on different schedules if the activities are part of a larger common plan of development or redevelopment that together disturbs one or more acres.
Exemptions. The following uses and activities are exempt from the requirements for a stormwater management permit:
Any agricultural activity which is consistent with an approved soil conservation plan prepared or approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service;
Any logging which is consistent with a timber management plan approved under the Forest Cutting Practices Act by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management;
Developments that do not disturb more than one acre of land, provided that they are not part of a larger common development plan;
Repairs to any stormwater or sewage treatment or collection systems and/or drinking water transmission or distribution systems deemed necessary by the Springfield Department of Public Works or the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission;
Any emergency activity that is immediately necessary for the protection of life, property or the environment, as determined by the Springfield Department of Public Works; and
Procedures, requirements and fee schedules for stormwater management permits, and stormwater and LID performance standards shall be defined and included as part of any rules and regulations promulgated as permitted under this chapter.
Issuance of a stormwater management permit shall not be construed as a guarantee by the City of Springfield, the Stormwater Authority or its employees or agents of the design or efficiency of the approved stormwater management system.
The Stormwater Authority, or an authorized agent of the Stormwater Authority, shall enforce this chapter, regulations adopted hereunder, orders, and violation notices and enforcement orders issued hereunder, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations. Enforcement shall be further defined and included as part of any rules and regulations promulgated as permitted under this chapter.
The invalidity of any section, provision, paragraph, sentence or clause of this chapter shall not invalidate any section, provision, paragraph, sentence or clause thereof, nor shall it invalidate any permit or determination that previously has been issued.