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The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Review Board (CBPARB) holds public hearings for Resource Protection Area (RPA) exception requests. These exceptions are considered when a property owner asks to encroach into the 100 foot RPA buffer required along perennial streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Five members on the Board review the RPA exception cases during a public hearing and evaluate the case based on criteria dictated by Virginia state law. Here is a copy of the Chesapeake Bay Review Board Bylaws. The board was formed in August 2004. 
 
The Board meets as needed. If you would like to receive email notification of the meetings, register at http://www.pwcgov.org/enotifications/. You may also call 703-792-7070 for information.  
 
There is specific criteria that must be met to allow an RPA exception. 
  • The County follows the regulations under 9VAC 10-20-10 of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations. 
  • The County also uses the requirements outlined in section 740 of the Design and Construction Standards Manual (DCSM) to guide our enforcement of the Chesapeake Bay Act.  This section provides all the specific requirements on what is required and needed to meet that guideline.
  • Under certain conditions a proposed encroachment may be exempt or permitted.   
A property owner may submit a written request for an exception to the Director of Public Works. Here is a copy of the RPA Exception form-2011 new fees. The RPA exception and associated fees ($130 administrative fee and $604 public hearing fee) must be submitted to Public Works to apply for this request. An exception may be granted but there may be conditions and safeguards required to ensure the protection of the community and its natural resources as outlined in Part 504 of Chapter 32 of the Prince William County Code. The Chesapeake Bay Act lists six criteria for determining if a RPA Exception is consistent with the Act. These six criteria are:
  1. The County will not provide the applicant any special privileges that are denied to other property owners in the Chesapeake Bay overlay district.
  2. The property owner is not requesting the exception because of conditions or circumstances that are self-created or self-imposed.
  3. The request cannot arise due to conditions or circumstances either permitted or exempted on adjacent parcels. 
  4. The property owner should only request the minimum exception required to meet his or her needs or afford relief.
  5. The exception must be consistent with the purpose and intent of the Chesapeake Bay overlay district. It cannot detract or be detrimental to the neighborhood or community.
  6. The property owner will follow all reasonable and appropriate requests to ensure the exception does not impair or degrade water quality.

Here is the Chesapeake Bay Review presentation from July 19, 2010 about three cases presented to the Chesapeake Bay Review Board.  It provides a good overview of the evaluation for a RPA exception and the criteria that must be considered. 

To learn more about the Chesapeake Bay Act and how it helps protect local waters view Chesapeake Bay Act and Local Action.   Here is an overview on the County's efforts toward protecting the Chesapeake Bay:

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact the Environmental Services Division, Watershed Management Branch at 703-792-7070.