Residential properties include condominiums, townhomes, and detached single family homes.
What’s my fee?
Single Family Residential Tiered Fee Structure
Residential properties, such as condos, townhomes, and single family homes, will be billed using a tiered method. Single family residential property owners will pay based on the type of property they own. There are over 43,000 single family residential properties in the City, and this tiered method balances the need of the fee to be equitable while reducing the administrative costs needed. These rates are based on GIS analysis of impervious area of all single family residential properties in the City. This impervious area calculation only considers hard surfaces that a rain drop could fall on, so it does not consider the interior square footage of a house.
This diagram shows the single family residential tiers and the fee on an annual basis. For example, the owner of a townhouse would pay approximately $59 per year or $29 bi-annually.
Learn more about the Stormwater Utility Fee and the services it funds.
How do I pay?
In May 2018, all property owners will be billed for half of the 2017-2018 fee as a separate line item on the real estate bill. Starting in October 2018, half the annual fee will be billed in October and the other half in May.
How can I reduce my fee?
Phase 2 of the Credit Policy will be developed in 2018 and will include a menu of single family homeowner best management practices. Residents will have an opportunity to provide input on the Phase 2 credit policy in the spring of 2018. The goal of the credit policy is to provide homeowners who install stormwater management practices with an opportunity to apply for credits beginning December 1, 2018 to potentially reduce the 2019 Stormwater Utility Fees.
City staff is conducting public outreach by directly engaging the community. Residents interested in having City staff visit their community, business, or non-profit organizations to discuss stormwater management and the Stormwater Utility Fee, or with specific questions, should email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting or ask questions.
These FAQs address the most common questions from homeowners. For more information, see FAQs on the Stormwater Utility Fee.
1. How is the Stormwater Utility Fee different from the water bills I receive?
The Stormwater Utility Fee is billed on the real estate bill and pays for stormwater management programs that reduce flooding and pollution of our local waterways caused by rain and snow melt that run off impervious areas. In addition to the Stormwater Utility Fee most Alexandria residents receive two separate bills – one from Virginia American Water, which provides clean water to your home, and one from AlexRenew, which cleans your dirty water after it is flushed to the sanitary sewer.
2. How is the rate determined?
The City of Alexandria sets the Stormwater Utility Rate for each billing unit called an Equivalent Residential Unit or ERU. The billing unit is defined as 2,062 square feet of impervious area, which is typical for a detached single family home in the City of Alexandria. Properties within the residential tiered rate structure are charged a flat-fee that is based on a comparison of the impervious area typical of each tier against a typical single-family residential unit. The annual stormwater utility fee is calculated by multiplying the approved FY rate by the number of ERUs. The rate is reviewed annually and set by the city council to be effective July 1 each year.
3. How is my tier determined?
The tier for residential properties is generally based on land use.
- Condo tier includes garden-style and hi-rise condos
- Townhouse tier includes townhouse-style condos, row townhouses, and semi-detached houses
- Typical and large single family tiers include detached houses
The designation between typical and large single family homes is based on impervious area. The impervious area is different than the floor area inside a house. Impervious areas include hard surfaces like driveways and roofs which don’t let rain or snow melt soak into the ground. We measure the amount of impervious area by what a bird would see from above.
4. Are associations charged a fee?
No, associations, including Homeowners and Condo Associations are not charged a fee. Individual homeowners are billed for the Stormwater Utility Fee.
5. How can I see my property’s impervious area?
The city can provide a map to single family detached residential property owners having over 2,800 square feet of impervious area in the large single family residential tier. To request a map, please email us at email@example.com
6. Is the City’s mapping of my property’s impervious area correct?
The impervious area is mapped from aerial photos with the actual measurement done via computer imaging, which produces a high degree of accuracy. While most residential properties will pay a flat fee regardless of the mapped impervious area, the impervious area determines whether a detached single family home falls within the typical or large fee tier. Property owners in the large single family tier may submit an appeal for an error in impervious area consistent with the adopted ordinance. Appeals are due within 30 days after bills are issued. For the first bill in May 2018, the deadline is expected to be approximately June 14, 2018. Forms will be available in May.
7. What are stormwater Best Management Practices or BMPs?
Best management practices (BMPs) treat stormwater runoff from an impervious surface by improving its water quality. BMPs can include structural or nonstructural management practices that include large regional ponds treating hundreds of acres or smaller BMPs treating a portion of a single family residential roof or lot.
For more information, including detailed design standards and specifications, check out the resources on post-construction BMPs from the Virginia Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse. Note that site conditions or homeowners’ association rules may preclude the installation of certain practices on your property.
8. How can I get technical and financial assistance for installing BMPs?
Property owners who are interested in installing BMPs may apply to be receive financial incentives and technical assistance from the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP). BMPs eligible for VCAP and cost-share funding may be eligible for credit in the Phase 2 Credit policy being developed in 2018.