Your HBA of Greenville has become aware of a new enforcement procedure by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) in the stormwater management program. It has resulted in a leter that many of you have received from Greenville County Engineer Judy Wortkoetter, P.E. Click here to read the letter from Wortkoetter.

You are probably well aware that the responsible companies for many residential subdivisions in the Greenville area are now bankrupt or have otherwise given up or lost control of their developments. In most cases these developments are under the control of a bank or other lender. In almost all cases the lender is declining to secure a new stormwater permit for the development.

As a result, because the responsible person who originally received the stormwater permit for the development is no longer in control of the development, SCDHEC considers the stormwater permit and NOI coverage for the development to be invalid. As a result, any undeveloped lots in the subdivision are not covered by a valid stormwater permit or NOI. This is an issue for anyone who has an ownership interest in a lot in one of these subdivisions.

Because these developments are considered “a larger common plan,” according to SCDHEC’s enforcement procedure, any development or building activity within this larger common plan must be covered by a stormwater permit and obtain NOI coverage. A building permit is not sufficient. As a result, Greenville County, under orders from SCDHEC, is requiring a fully-engineered stormwater permit application for any construction activities in these subdivisions. Even construction of a single house requires a certification from a professional engineer that it complies with the approved SWPPP in order to obtain NOI coverage. The construction of the single house on a single lot is considered by SCDHEC to be part of the “larger common plan of development”. In some cases SCDHEC is requiring builders, when buying multiple lots in one of these subdivisions, to obtain their own approved SWPPP and NOI coverage, even when the builder does not control the entire subdivision.

The only exception is for developments where the remaining undeveloped lots represent 10 percent of the overall development, or 10 acres, and the stormwater permit has been properly closed out. Greenville County government has been assisting in closing out the permits on any developments that fit those criteria. Greenville County is also closing out permits that meet it’s new stormwater ordinance requirement that developer’s can close out their permit if the subdivision reaches 50% build out if the stormwater management facilities are functioning and certified by the design engineer. However, NOI coverage for the individual lots built in these subdivision is required by SCDHEC.

Greenville County government also has been working closely with the Home Builders Association of Greenville and area developers and their engineers to try to resolve these problems. However, SCDHEC has been firm and inflexible with their enforcement of their stormwater program with these abandoned subdivisions.

The Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association of Greenville has asked us to make our Builder members aware of this situation and to advise you to do the following when purchasing lots in subdivisions:

  • Verify that the subdivision is covered by a valid stormwater permit and developer provided NOI coverage, particularly if you are buying a lot or lots from a bank
  • If the subdivision is not covered by a stormwater permit, verify that the stormwater permit was properly closed out so that your building permit will be valid for your individual land disturbance activities and obtain NOI coverage from SCDHEC.

If you buy a lot or lots in a subdivision that is not covered by a valid stormwater permit, and it is required to have a stormwater permit, be aware that you may be required to secure an engineered stormwater permit for the lot or lots and could be required to take responsibility for stormwater management for the entire development.

If you have any questions about this issue, please call the HBA office.