New Stormwater Fee to Hit Churches Hard

With the new stormwater utility fee structure slated to go into effect Jan. 1, and with property owners to receive their first bills in June, the Falls Church City Council Monday adopted a resolution outlining a credit policy to offset the fee, based on improvements to mitigate the impact of impervious surfaces. Nonetheless, as City resident Mike Volpe, who served on the citizen task force to hammer out the complicated policy, told the Council Monday, the new stormwater fee will hit churches, with large impervious parking lots, particularly hard.

In the case of his church, the Falls Church Presbyterian, the annual fee will be about $7,000, he said, and it is ill prepared to handle the new expense. A number of church leaders spoke out against the fee last spring, and the general manager of Eden Center, Alan Frank, cautioned that the cost to his center could be $75,000 a year. The credit policy adopted Monday will provide a 30 percent discount for impervious areas draining to a registered “Best Management Practice,” provide a 10 percent discount for an approved Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, and provide up to a 30 percent discount for water quantity runoff control “resulting in peak mitigation for off-site waters and/or on site runoff in excess of code requirements.”