2 key Pennsylvania rules about development stormwater management

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | Commercial Real Estate & Environmental Compliance |

New construction, renovations and land development will all have environmental consequences. Removing vegetation, adding drainage and paving roads will impact animal habitats and even contribute to flooding risks.

The businesses that develop properties have to carefully comply with both state and federal environmental regulations. Prior to actually developing the land, they may need to perform an environmental impact study. They will also have to look into what consequences these new homes would have on local water quality and groundwater resources.

Specifically, there are stormwater management requirements in Pennsylvania that both developers and  homeowners associations (HOAs) must meet.

 New developments must plan for stormwater

The more pavement there is on the ground and the fewer large plants, like trees and bushes, there are, the more of an impact stormwater can have on the local terrain. Pavement deflects rainwater rather than absorbing it, and a dearth of plants will mean that the area can handle less rainwater than it would have in its natural state.

Those planning new development must consider stormwater when designing the project. There needs to be appropriate drainage both at individual properties and throughout the entire development. The business must consider flood risk and erosion to create a plan that will protect the local ecosystem and nearby properties.

The company managing the development must then submit those plans to the county for review and approval. They can only move forward with construction once they have a stormwater management plan in place.

Every new homeowner must receive full disclosure

When the developer completes construction, they have obligations to the new property owners. When an HOA takes over the management of a new development, they take on those responsibilities as well.

Under Pennsylvania State Law, every new homeowner moving into an HOA neighborhood or development with a stormwater plan should receive full disclosure of those plans. The information included in those documents might influence what insurance that homeowner purchases, for example.

As a developer or a board member for a local HOA, it is crucial that you understand the stormwater plan rules that apply to residential real estate in Pennsylvania. Ensuring your compliance with environmental and residential real estate laws will protect both businesses and HOAs from potentially expensive compliance issues and lawsuits from property owners.