§ 62.1-44.15:37

(For effective date — see notes) Notices to comply and stop work orders

A. When the VESMP authority or the Board determines that there is a failure to comply with the permit conditions or conditions of land-disturbance approval, or to obtain an approved plan, permit, or land-disturbance approval prior to commencing land-disturbing activities, the VESMP authority or the Board may serve a notice to comply upon the owner, permittee, or person conducting land-disturbing activities without an approved plan, permit, or approval. Such notice to comply shall be served by delivery by facsimile, email, or other technology; by mailing with confirmation of delivery to the address specified in the permit or land-disturbance application, if available, or in the land records of the locality; or by delivery at the site to a person previously identified to the VESMP authority by the permittee or owner. The notice to comply shall specify the measures needed to comply with the permit or land-disturbance approval conditions, or shall identify the plan approval or permit or land-disturbance approval needed to comply with this article, and shall specify a reasonable time within which such measures shall be completed. In any instance in which a required permit or land-disturbance approval has not been obtained, the VESMP authority or the Board may require immediate compliance. In any other case, the VESMP authority or the Board may establish the time for compliance by taking into account the risk of damage to natural resources and other relevant factors. Notwithstanding any other provision in this subsection, a VESMP authority or the Board may count any days of noncompliance as days of violation should the VESMP authority or the Board take an enforcement action. The issuance of a notice to comply by the Board shall not be considered a case decision as defined in § 2.2-4001.

B. Upon failure to comply within the time specified in a notice to comply issued in accordance with subsection A, a locality serving as the VESMP authority or the Board may issue a stop work order requiring the owner, permittee, or person conducting the land-disturbing activities without an approved plan or required permit or land-disturbance approval to cease all land-disturbing activities until the violation has ceased, or an approved plan and required permits and approvals are obtained, and specified corrective measures have been completed. The VESMP authority or the Board shall lift the order immediately upon completion and approval of corrective action or upon obtaining an approved plan or any required permits or approvals.

C. When such an order is issued by the Board, it shall be issued in accordance with the procedures of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). Such orders shall become effective upon service on the person in the manner set forth in subsection A. However, where the alleged noncompliance is causing or presents an imminent and substantial danger of causing harmful erosion of lands or sediment deposition in waters within the watersheds of the Commonwealth or otherwise substantially impacting water quality, the locality serving as the VESMP authority or the Board may issue, without advance notice or procedures, an emergency order directing such person to cease immediately all land-disturbing activities on the site and shall provide an opportunity for a hearing, after reasonable notice as to the time and place thereof, to such person, to affirm, modify, amend, or cancel such emergency order.

D. The owner, permittee, or person conducting a land-disturbing activity may appeal the issuance of any order to the circuit court of the jurisdiction wherein the violation was alleged to occur or other appropriate court.

E. An aggrieved owner of property sustaining pecuniary damage from soil erosion or sediment deposition resulting from a violation of an approved plan or required land-disturbance approval, or from the conduct of a land-disturbing activity commenced without an approved plan or required land-disturbance approval, may give written notice of an alleged violation to the locality serving as the VESMP authority and to the Board.

1. If the VESMP authority has not responded to the alleged violation in a manner that causes the violation to cease and abates the damage to the aggrieved owner’s property within 30 days following receipt of the notice from the aggrieved owner, the aggrieved owner may request that the Board conduct an investigation and, if necessary, require the violator to stop the alleged violation and abate the damage to the property of the aggrieved owner.

2. Upon receipt of the request, the Board shall conduct an investigation of the aggrieved owner’s complaint. If the Board’s investigation of the complaint indicates that (i) there is a violation and the VESMP authority has not responded to the violation as required by the VESMP and (ii) the VESMP authority has not responded to the alleged violation in a manner that causes the violation to cease and abates the damage to the aggrieved owner’s property within 30 days from receipt of the notice from the aggrieved owner, then the Board shall give written notice to the VESMP authority that the Board intends to issue an order pursuant to subdivision 3.

3. If the VESMP authority has not instituted action to stop the violation and abate the damage to the aggrieved owner’s property within 10 days following receipt of the notice from the Board, the Board is authorized to issue an order requiring the owner, person responsible for carrying out an approved plan, or person conducting the land-disturbing activity without an approved plan or required land-disturbance approval to cease all land-disturbing activities until the violation of the plan has ceased or an approved plan and required land-disturbance approval are obtained, as appropriate, and specified corrective measures have been completed. The Board also may immediately initiate a program review of the VESMP.

4. Such orders are to be issued in accordance with the procedures of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) and they shall become effective upon service on the person by mailing, with confirmation of delivery, sent to his address specified in the land records of the locality, or by personal delivery by an agent of the Board. Any subsequent identical mail or notice that is sent by the Board may be sent by regular mail. However, if the Board finds that any such violation is grossly affecting or presents an imminent and substantial danger of causing harmful erosion of lands or sediment deposition in waters within the watersheds of the Commonwealth, it may issue, without advance notice or hearing, an emergency order directing such person to cease all land-disturbing activities on the site immediately and shall provide an opportunity for a hearing, after reasonable notice as to the time and place thereof, to such person, to affirm, modify, amend, or cancel such emergency order.

5. If a person who has been issued an order or an emergency order is not complying with the terms thereof, the Board may institute a proceeding in the appropriate circuit court for an injunction, mandamus, or other appropriate remedy compelling the person to comply with such order. Any person violating or failing, neglecting, or refusing to obey any injunction, mandamus, or other remedy obtained pursuant to this section shall be subject, in the discretion of the court, to a civil penalty in accordance with the provisions of § 62.1-44.15:48. Any civil penalties assessed by a court shall be paid into the state treasury and deposited by the State Treasurer into the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund established pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:29.1.

History

1989, cc. 467, 499, § 10.1-603.11; 2004, c. 372; 2012, cc. 785, 819. 2013, cc. 756, 793, 2016, cc. 68, 758.

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