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Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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18 This chapter provides guidance for airports that are not currently paying stormwater fees but either know about a stormwater utility in development or are concerned about the potential for one to be established that would affect them. Airports already paying stormwater fees should move to Chapter 3. (See Figure 5.) Based on literature and the interactions with the participating airports, there are five broad categories of strategies for mitigation: • Section 2.1—Awareness of stormwater utility developments • Section 2.2—Strategies involving communication both internally within the airport and with the developing utility • Section 2.3—Advocacy for airports during stormwater fee development • Section 2.4—Future stormwater management planning at airports • Section 2.5—Approaches that involve governance Although the strategies in category five are substantially more involved and not commonly used, they are included to acknowledge the full range of measures that have been used across the United States. Section 2.6 includes tools for airports anticipating stormwater fees. 2.1 Staying Informed about Stormwater Utility Developments Airport staff should remain aware of developments in their region or state regarding storm- water utilities so they will be prepared if their local municipality or county begins the process of establishing a utility. At this point, airports may rely primarily on publicly available information to remain informed of trends in stormwater management that may affect them. Airports could start with an internet search for state and local guid- ance on creating a stormwater utility. This may help them understand how utilities are established and where to look for information on developments in their municipalities or counties. Legal authority to establish a stormwater fee program varies among states and may originate from state legislation or from the specific legislation that established the municipality. In some cases, a local government may be able to establish a stormwater fee program if it does not conflict with the state’s constitution. Table 6 provides guiding questions and suggested information sources to help airport staff answer these questions. C H A P T E R 2 Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees TIP Look at other state and local guidance for reference. For example, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and others in Massachusetts prepared How to Create a Stormwater Utility as a guide on creating a stormwater utility.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 19 The answers to these questions should identify whether a stormwater utility is developing or is likely to develop near the airport. Even if the development of a stormwater utility does not seem imminent, it is still good practice to reevaluate these questions every year. For example, it may be useful to check the WKU stormwater utility survey every year. The WKU survey is an annual survey that lists information and trends regarding stormwater utilities across the United States. Listings include community name, state, fee type, ERU size (if applicable), monthly fee, year created, and community population. You can find the survey online at https://www.wku.edu/ seas/undergradprogramdescription/stormwaterutilitysurvey.php. Most new stormwater utilities incorporate robust public involvement and communication strategies in order to launch effectively and avoid public resistance. Remaining alert for notices, public meetings, and workshops will help airports be prepared when utilities are proposed. It is Figure 5. Layout of guidebook for Chapters 2 and 3. Table 6. Guiding questions to stay informed about stormwater fee developments. Does the municipality/ county in which the airport is located have the legal authority to implement a stormwater fee program or establish a stormwater utility? Online municipal codes: Using databases can be helpful in locating the applicable municipal code enabling the establishment of stormwater utilities. • Municode (https://www.municode.com/) • AmLegal (http://www.amlegal.com/) • Sterling Codifiers (http://www.sterlingcodifiers.com/#codes) • LexisNexis (https://www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/home.page) What local government entity is responsible for stormwater management? This will help the airport identify where a stormwater utility would be located in local government. These may include the public works department, water department, or sewer authority. Resources airports can search include • Municipal websites of the municipality or county in which the airport resides and the websites of nearby communities (note that stormwater fee programs are housed in and implemented by a variety of government departments), and • Other reports or surveys compiling information on stormwater utilities, such as the WKU 2017 Stormwater Utility Survey. What is the overall trend for stormwater utilities and stormwater fees in the state/region (e.g., do other stormwater utilities exist in the region or are there others being developed)? Internet searches can include key terms such as “stormwater utility,” “stormwater fee,” and “drainage fee” to help identify new and emerging utilities. It may also be helpful to search nearby municipalities’ websites for any information on stormwater fees. The WKU survey would also be a useful source for trends in stormwater utilities.

20 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees important to note that specifics regarding public meetings and schedule of announcements and public vote for a proposed stormwater fee vary based on state and local regulations. If the local stormwater utility is under development, an airport should take steps to commu- nicate with the municipality and county, work to become involved in the development process, and prepare for fee implementation. These steps are covered in the rest of this chapter. 2.2 Communicating about Stormwater Utilities Some of the airports participating in this project indicated that they were not adequately prepared when stormwater fees were initiated. This underscores the importance of establishing communication with the local stormwater management department before the utility is estab- lished. Early awareness and communication may enable the airport to provide input on issues such as the fee structure and credit programs and will also help the airport prepare internally for upcoming fees. If the proposed stormwater utility creates a working group to provide a forum for information exchange, it is important that the airport participate in the stakeholder outreach. Communicating with the Developing Stormwater Utilities Strategies for communicating with stormwater utilities will vary depending on the size and type of the airport as well as the ownership and governance structure. However, each airport has a responsibility to create, foster, and promote best practices for effective communi- cation strategies, both within the airport and with the local and state agencies responsible for stormwater management. These strategies should include identifying the relevant agencies and departments, identifying points of contact, and establishing and maintaining regular communication with the points of contact (see Figure 6). Identify the relevant agencies and departments: Airports should have already identified which local or county agencies conduct stormwater management and which agencies might implement stormwater fees using the guidance in Section 2.1. If development of a storm water utility is underway, a committee has likely been established to help garner public support. Air- ports should connect with members of this committee or even join the committee if possible. Identify points of contact: The airport should keep a list of points of contact involved with the development of a stormwater utility. The list should be reviewed annually for updates. In addi- tion, the airport should nominate or delegate an employee to be the primary point of contact with the utility, and that staff member should be included on the utility’s contact list to facilitate prompt and accurate notification of any changes in programs or policies. It may be necessary for the airport management or primary airport point of contact to reach out to the stormwater utility directly and request to be added to their contact list. Establish and maintain regular communication with the stormwater utility points of con- tact: Establishing communication and maintaining regular contact with those involved in a stormwater utility is key for the airport as it can foster information sharing both while a fee program is being developed and after it is in place. The airport will also benefit from being able to provide input to the municipality or county when the utility is being developed or revised (e.g., rate changes). When stormwater utilities are proposed, airport executives should meet with elected officials and department heads to directly raise awareness of the unique issues airports face. All communication (written and verbal) related to stormwater fees should be logged to TIP Consider avenues of communication, which may differ if the airport is operated by an airport authority versus a state, county, or municipal agency.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 21 share details among airport staff and keep long-term records. The development, implementa- tion, and active life of a stormwater fee program are long-term, and it is important to have relevant information available and complete in the case of airport staff turnover. Appendix C includes an example template that airport staff can use to track communication related to stormwater fees. Communicating Internally Effective internal communication within the airport is necessary for awareness and manage- ment of stormwater fees. For example, bills for fees may be received and paid by finance staff without the details being known by the operations or environmental compliance staff unless a communication plan is in place. Airports should maintain open dialogue about stormwater fees among relevant departments and should make sure essential information related to stormwater fees is easily accessible (see Figure 7). Identify relevant airport departments and staff: A list should be kept of the airport staff who need to be kept informed. This may include staff involved with facilities and infrastructure, environmental compliance, finances, O&M, planning, and capital projects. This list should be kept up to date and checked annually or bi-annually, depending on staff changes. Figure 6. Communication with the developing stormwater utility.

22 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees Designate a staff coordinator for internal communication: Airports may designate a representative from the airport staff to be responsible for the internal communication with the relevant departments. This employee should be well versed in the airport’s stormwater management system and have knowledge of the airport’s permits and regulatory obligations. This employee could also serve as the primary point of contact with the stormwater utility in order to streamline the documentation, share information, and maintain consistent flow of information up and down the management structure. Disseminate helpful information internally about stormwater fee programs: Airports should consider how they will disseminate information to those on the list of internal staff (e.g., internal group emails, periodic meetings). Initial information can be sent to the group regarding stormwater fees, and related documents and records can be kept in a location accessible to all relevant staff (e.g., designated location on a file server). Defining Organizational Responsibilities for Stormwater Management The airport should confirm the roles and responsibilities of both the airport and the proposed or existing stormwater utility. This includes which municipal, county, or state entities have authority for stormwater management and stormwater fees and what is required and permitted by law. Airports should be clear on which agency has authority to establish a stormwater utility, constraints on that authority, and whether it changes over time (see Figure 8). Figure 7. Internal communication.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 23 Confirm airport stormwater management responsibilities: Other information regarding organizational responsibilities for stormwater management include the airport’s stormwater permits and whether the airport discharges runoff to a municipal or county MS4 or treats runoff on-site and discharges to a receiving water. Appendix C includes an example table for tracking an airport’s stormwater drainage and treatment. Such documentation will help the airport in making basic information about airport stormwater management and permitting available to all staff, along with tracking of changes in status. Discuss stormwater management responsibilities with the stormwater utility: Once there is a clear understanding of the airport’s stormwater management (including use of MS4s, on-site management, and discharge to receiving waters), the airport’s stormwater point of contact should review this information with those developing the stormwater utility to ensure that all parties have accurate, consistent information regarding the airport’s stormwater system and to resolve any questions that arise. 2.3 Advocating for Your Organization— Local Agency Positioning This section provides guidance on issues an airport may want to discuss and negotiate with the developing stormwater utility. This includes advocating for provisions in the storm- water fee structure and fee credit program that are appropriate for airports (and possibly other large facilities). Some of the activities that follow are also applicable and are included in the section for airports already paying fees. These include communicating with large landowners and maintaining communication and a good relationship with the utility. Some Figure 8. Defining organizational responsibilities for stormwater management.

24 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees outreach and advocacy necessary for airports not yet paying fees are also needed for those already paying fees. Distinguishing Airport Properties from Other Commercial Properties As an airport establishes a relationship with a proposed stormwater utility, it is important to explain how airports are unique from other commercial or industrial areas. This is, in part, because of FAA regulations related to wildlife hazards and runway safety areas. Airport staff might also discuss with the utility the similarities airport taxiways and runways have with road- ways, which may be exempt from stormwater fees because of their role as public rights-of-way. It is also crucial for airport staff to explain to the utility the airport’s stormwater management system and describe the current and ongoing airport stormwater programs. Airport stormwater systems can predate the formation of a stormwater utility, and the airport will have implemented on-site stormwater management and usually have an industrial NPDES permit with conditions that may be more stringent than those of a utility’s general NPDES permit. Such discussions can pave the way for the utility to consider opportunities to exempt the airport itself or certain airport land uses (e.g., runways and taxiways) from fees or to give the airport credits for its on-site stormwater management. Additionally, airports should make utilities aware when they are also managing runoff that originates off-site. Advocating for an Advantageous Fee Structure As described in Section 1.9, there are several common stormwater fee structures, some of which will result in lower fees for an airport than other structures will. If an airport is com- municating with the utility during the development of the fee structure, this is an opportunity to advocate for consideration of several options and to offer input on how proposed structures will affect the airport. Airports can also consider advocating for a cap on fees to ensure that larger properties will not pay extremely high fees. Stormwater utilities may also provide information on the pro- posed fee calculations to customers. When fee structures are being proposed, airports are strongly encouraged to estimate how much they could be assessed based on their facility’s impervious area and the proposed fee formula. Table 7 includes the advantages and disadvantages of fee structures for stormwater utilities and airports. Additional details on the general advantages and disadvantages of fee structures (not specific to airports) can be found in a 2005 report by the New England Environmental Finance Center (see References and Further Reading). Guidance for airports regarding fee structures • Even though a flat rate structure would result in the lowest fee for airports and other nonresi- dential properties, airports should consider advocating for a structure that is more equitable and would resonate more with the utility (e.g., tiered, dual, or ERU). • The ERU structure is the most common fee structure in the United States, and it is likely that this structure will be considered. This structure is likely to result in the highest fees. Airports should advocate for a smaller fee per ERU and/or a larger ERU (i.e., more area per unit). • Airports should consider advocating for a cap on fees. If a structure is chosen that is burden- some, then a cap on fees may help to relieve the financial burden on airports. Example 1: Early TIP Use the examples of hypothetical fee calculations for different fee structures that are provided in Appendix B to estimate potential fees.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 25 Involvement in Development of Fee Structure presents a situation where an airport was able to advocate for a cap on fees. • The REF structure is probably the most complex, but it is considered equitable in most cases. It can favor residential properties over nonresidential properties if it is based on a smaller standard storm. If this fee structure is an option, airports could advocate for a larger standard storm and for a standard residential parcel with more flood-prone soil (i.e., soil that is similar to impervious area). • Not included in this table is a “hybrid” fee structure, where one structure is used for residential properties and a different structure is used for nonresidential properties. There can be several combinations for hybrid fees (e.g., flat for residential properties and tiered for nonresidential properties, flat/tiered for residential properties and ERU for nonresidential properties, etc.), and they may have varying pros and cons based on the selected structures. Fee Structure Stormwater Utility: Pros and Cons Airport: Pros and Cons Flat Pros: Simple for the public to understand; low data collection needs; easy to administer Pros: Would most likely result in the lowest rate for airports because all properties would be charged the same fee; would require limited data tracking Flat Cons: Least equitable fee structure; more vulnerable to legal challenges Cons: Would be difficult to advocate for this fee structure because it is the least equitable Dual Pros: More equitable than a flat fee; simple for the public to understand; moderate data collection needs; easy to administer Pros: Would result in a relatively lower fee; would require limited data tracking Dual Cons: More time intensive than a flat fee; vulnerable to legal challenges Cons: Would be difficult to advocate for since it is still not considered the most equitable Tiered Pros: More equitable than a flat fee; simple for the public to understand; moderate data collection needs; easy to administer Pros: Would result in a lower fee for airports; easier to advocate for because it is more equitable than a flat fee Tiered Cons: More time intensive than a flat fee; vulnerable to legal challenges Cons: Would require more data tracking ERU Pros: Equitable fee structure; simple for the public to understand; less vulnerable to legal challenges Pros: Would be easier to advocate for because it is one of the most equitable structures; could result in a relatively lower fee if the airport successfully advocates for a lower price per ERU and/or larger ERU (i.e., more area per unit) ERU Cons: High data collection needs; time intensive and costly to administer Cons: Most likely to result in a higher fee; would require more data tracking on a continuous basis; more financially burdensome to nonresidential properties REF Pros: Equitable fee structure (in most cases); less vulnerable to legal challenges Pros: Would be easier to advocate for because it can be one of the most equitable structures REF Cons: Difficult for the public to understand; high data collection needs; time intensive and costly to administer; in some cases, may not be very equitable (e.g., can favor residential Cons: Would require more data tracking on a continuous basis; difficult to understand; more financially burdensome to nonresidential properties properties over nonresidential properties or vice versa) Table 7. Pros and cons of various fee structures for stormwater utilities and airports.

26 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees It may be more effective to advocate for a dual fee in some situations because it would provide more equity for residential customers without being too burdensome to nonresidential customers. • Consider meeting with other organizations with similar fee issues, such as schools, power utilities, large-scale manufacturing entities, sea ports, or other large land holdings, to develop a common message. Early Involvement in Development of Fee Structure Example 1 A medium hub airport in the eastern United States pays a stormwater fee to the county. The airport is owned and operated by a metropolitan airport authority that is overseen by a Board of Commissioners and the mayor. The current storm- water fee rate structure is tiered based on the amount of impervious surface per parcel. The airport provided input on its potential rate because the county engaged the airport and other landowners during development of the storm- water fee in the late 2000s. This was an opportunity for these stakeholders to provide input in the final fee structure. There were several fee proposals and discussions between the landowners and the county. For example, one proposed fee would have capped the top tier at a significantly higher rate than what was ultimately decided. Advocating for a Stormwater Fee Credit Program Many stormwater utilities include a fee credit program, and utilities participating in this project noted that stormwater fee credits can be an effective and equitable strategy for mitigat- ing stormwater fees. Several of the airports who participated in this project have used credit programs as effective, readily available ways to reduce fees (see Figure 9). Airports should advocate for • The inclusion of a fee credit program in the stormwater fee program, and • Credits that can apply to the stormwater management practices appropriate for airports. Figure 9. Common measures that can qualify for credits and were noted by participants in this project.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 27 Common Stormwater Fee Credit Program Elements Stormwater fee credit programs are tailored to meet local stormwater issues (e.g., storm- water quantity and/or quality) and are influenced by state and local legislation. The participating airports in this project indicated that the maximum possible credits range from a few tens of a percent up to 100 percent. Stormwater utilities may offer credits to property owners that provide on-site detention and/or water quality treatment. Existing utilities may have credit manuals describing how credits are awarded and may be useful resources for airports to understand how different credit programs operate. Stormwater Fee Credit Program Development During the stormwater fee program development, it is important to first advocate for the inclusion of a fee credit program and then for a fee credit program that applies to airport stormwater management. Make a convincing argument for fee credit programs: It is key to advocate for a good fee credit program at the outset because it can provide numerous and long-term benefits to the airport. Airports should understand that stormwater fees typically include a fee credit program to both ensure equity in fee allocation and to alleviate the perception that such fees are taxes. Airports can make a convincing argument for stormwater utilities to establish a credit program because they will reduce the stormwater utility’s exposure to legal challenges. Advocate for credits applicable to airport stormwater management: • Credits for stormwater BMPs: Airports can advocate for credits for stormwater manage- ment on-site, including both structural and non-structural BMPs. The proposed stormwater utility should be made aware of how airports differ from other property types and the degree of stormwater management they do on-site. Fee credit programs should include the types of stormwater BMPs used at airports. States and local stormwater management programs may have guidance on stormwater BMPs, including design features. Utilities may use such guides when assigning credits. Airports should verify that the types of BMPs they use qualify for credits under the proposed fee structure. If not, airports should work with the utility to demonstrate that their BMPs provide adequate stormwater management and advocate for their inclusion in the credit program. Many programs focus on smaller-scale controls normally found on residential properties, such as bioretention or rain harvesting, to qualify for potential credits, which are usually not used at larger sites. • Credits for stormwater permits: Airports should advocate that consideration also should be given to whether the airport is managing all of its runoff on-site or if it is included in the municipality’s NPDES MS4 permit. Note that many large landholdings have generally been established prior to implementation of the stormwater fee, and their stormwater system predates the fee credit programs. Section 3.2 includes more information on credit programs, particularly regarding barriers to receiving credits faced by some of the participating airports. Example 2 and Example 3 explain the different ways in which two of the participating airports receive stormwater credits. Advocating for Exemptions Airports may advocate for exemption of certain airport land uses such as runways, taxiways, and aprons, especially if the stormwater fee program is considering exempting public roadways. In some TIP Review established exemptions to help inform how to propose and advocate for exemptions for the entire airport facility or for airport runways and taxiways.

28 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees Examples of Fee Credit Programs at Airports Example 2 A large general aviation airport in the northwestern United States pays fees to a county stormwater utility. The utility offers a stormwater credit to commercial properties that have detention on-site and the property then is charged a category lower in the county’s tiered stormwater fee structure. In addition, the airport negotiated with the county to receive a 35 percent fee reduction for holding a NPDES permit. This credit reduced the airport’s stormwater fees from nearly $600,000 per year to under $400,000. The airport employs a number of measures to comply with the NPDES permit; they maintain hundreds of catch basins, water quality filters, oil-water separators, and regional detention facilities. Because other property owners had also expressed concerns to the utility regarding their fees, the utility was attuned to issues regarding fairness and equality. The fee reduction was an effective mechanism for maintaining fairness because property owners with a NPDES permit are already managing their own stormwater. Example 3 A large hub airport in the eastern United States has property that spans several jurisdictions, and it pays stormwater fees to two stormwater utilities, a county water authority and a municipality. The airport has worked through the utilities’ credit programs to maximize credits and reduce fees. The airport pays over $400,000 per year in stormwater fees. This includes reductions from credits. Without the reductions, the airport would pay over $1 million per year. The county credit program offers up to 100 percent fee reduction. The airport supported their credit application to the county with a stormwater management attenuation plan that describes how the airport addresses stormwater quality and quantity (e.g., bioswales). The airport receives about a 30 percent reduction in fees. The municipality to which the airport pays fees also has a credit program. The airport does not have a clear understanding of how the program works but believes they could be eligible for a fee reduction of about 40 percent. The credits are only valid for five years, after which the airport must reapply; the airport is looking for ways to keep these credits for as long as possible and to enhance them. When updating its stormwater management attenuation plan, for example, the airport tried to include practices such as permeable pavement that can help it with stormwater fee credits. states, roadways are exempted from stormwater fees, and some airports have advocated for runways and taxiways to be considered public rights-of-way similar to public roadways. Airports can lobby for exemptions of runways and taxiways to be written into state legislation dictating stormwater fee programs. As with a fee credit program, it is preferable that exemp- tions be included at initiation of, or during development of, the stormwater fee program, rather than later in the process. It may be possible to use the state association of ports and airports as a lobbying agency. Local stormwater technical and policy advisory committee membership may also be helpful, especially during creation of the utility. Section 3.5 includes an example.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 29 Requesting Stormwater Management Services Airports should understand whether the proposed stormwater fee program will have the authority to provide stormwater management services to the airport, and, if so, which services would be most appropriate. In some cases, the utility may not be able to provide services given ownership or property type (e.g., if an airport is considered commercial property). Services would be more likely to be provided to the airport if the municipality or county that administers the stormwater fee also owns the airport. Services from the stormwater utility or local government stormwater program would be delivered mostly on the landside. Additional staff training and security restrictions may limit the provision of such services by the stormwater utility on the airside of the airport. The airport should verify and, if desired, request services it will be eligible to receive from the stormwater utility. An airport can advocate to receive these services when the stormwater utility commences operations. 2.4 Incorporating Increased Stormwater Management into Future Airport Planning Airports that anticipate paying stormwater fees in the future can start to incorporate measures that might reduce fees into airport master plans, stormwater management plans, and sustainability plans. Incorporating goals and measures into these planning documents can also help the airport clearly communicate current and future stormwater management to a developing utility. In addition, the airport can take measures to address increased impervious area [e.g., implementing green stormwater infrastructure (GSI)] when undertaking capital projects (e.g., incorporate GSI BMPs) and should continue to maintain robust on-site stormwater management (i.e., reduce or treat stormwater runoff discharged off-site). There are several planning documents that airports can use to document stormwater manage- ment and future goals: • Airport Master Plan: This document provides the airport owner or operator with a strategy for airport development. Elements of the document include forecasts, selection of critical aircraft, and the Airport Layout Plan (ALP). The ALP must be approved by the FAA, which indicates that the existing facilities and proposed development depicted on the ALP conform to the FAA airport design standards in effect at the time of the approval or that an approved modification to standard has been issued. Such approval also indicates that the FAA finds the proposed development to be safe and efficient. It is important to note that the description of major elements of the airport’s infrastructure that service the utility demands for water, sanitary sewer, communications, heating and cooling, and power be included in the master plan, including stormwater drainage. • Stormwater Master Plan or Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP): These plans document current stormwater management, regulatory compliance, and future stormwater goals. SWPPPs focus on BMPs to eliminate, prevent, or reduce pollutants in storm water runoff associated with specific airport activities. • Sustainability Master Plan and Sustainable Management Plan (SMP): These documents address initiatives for reducing environmental effects, achieving economic benefits, and increasing integration with local communities. These documents should consider the design of a stormwater drainage system as well as sustainable initiatives regarding stormwater, such as green infrastructure. An airport master plan can help educate stormwater utilities about the goals of an airport’s existing and planned stormwater management as it relates to overall airport planning. The SWPP

30 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees and SMP can be vetted against utility credit programs and can serve as a starting point to work with utilities for effective use of credit programs or to negotiate agreements by clarifying specific stormwater BMPs, regulatory responsibilities, and the degree to which the airport will or will not need to use the county or municipal stormwater infrastructure. Airports can consider incorporating GSI to treat and reduce site runoff volumes (see Exam- ple 4). Airports can also target areas with substantial amounts of impervious area to determine if it is appropriate or feasible to reduce impervious area by installing infiltration-based BMPs. This would involve capital expenditures and may not always be feasible, but it may be an option to include in larger capital projects. For more guidance on implementing GSI at airports, refer to ACRP Research Report 174: Green Stormwater Infrastructure—Volume 2: Guidebook. Reducing Impervious Area Example 4 One airport has a robust Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) and SWPPP, and all the airlines comply with these policies. In addition, reducing impervious area is a primary issue at the airport and drives the pursuit of GSI at the facility. That is an integral part of complying with the city’s Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit as well. The airport is always planning and looking forward to future projects that can reduce impervious area. For GSI BMPs, the airport currently has bioswales, permeable pavers, tree wells, and other BMPs. 2.5 Advocating for Governing and Enabling Law—State Level Airport strategies to advocate for governing and enabling law at the state level usually involve extensive effort, resources, and outside legal expertise. Because these strategies are situation- specific and may be complex, they are addressed only briefly here. In addition, it is more likely for airports to employ these strategies once the stormwater fee program has been established, not during its development. Section 3.5 includes more information on these strategies, along with examples. • Engagement and Lobbying Strategies to Promote Exemptions (Including State Legislation): Airports can lobby for exemptions of runways and taxiways to be written into state legislation dictating stormwater fee programs. • Establishment of an MS4 at an Airport: Establishing a separate MS4 at an airport may allow it to better manage and mitigate NPDES stormwater permitting compliance and, as a result, lower its overall stormwater utility costs. However, this strategy could be politically sensitive and would entail effort and expense. • Establishment of an Airport Stormwater Utility or Stormwater Fee Program: Another option for an airport is to establish its own stormwater utility. However, this can be complex and will be dictated by state and local regulations. For this reason, establishment of a storm- water utility or program is not a commonly used measure.

Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees 31 2.6 Tools for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees Questions to Stay Informed about Stormwater Utility Developments Answer the Following Questions: Does the municipality/county in which the airport is located have the legal authority to implement a stormwater fee program or establish a stormwater utility? (See Table 6 for suggested information sources.) What local government entity is responsible for stormwater management? What is the overall trend for stormwater utilities and stormwater fees in the state/region (e.g., do other stormwater utilities exist in the region or are there others being developed)? Checklist for Communicating about Stormwater Utilities Communicating about Stormwater Utilities Communicating with the Developing Stormwater Utility Check when completed Identify the relevant agencies and departments Identify points of contact Establish and maintain regular communication with the points of contact Communicating Internally Check when completed Identify relevant airport departments and staff Designate a staff member to coordinate internal communication Disseminate helpful information internally about stormwater fee programs Clarifying Organizational Responsibilities for Stormwater Management Check when completed Confirm airport stormwater management responsibilities Discuss stormwater management responsibilities with the stormwater fee program Checklist for Key Points to Discuss during the Development of a Stormwater Fee Program Advocating for Your Organization – Local Agency Positioning Distinguishing Airport Properties from Other Commercial Properties Check when completed Make the point that airports are unique from other commercial/industrial areas because of the federal regulations that must be followed and what potential hazards there could be with certain stormwater facilities on the airport Advocating for an Advantageous Fee Structure Check when completed Ensure that several fee structure options and the various pros and cons for different property types have been considered Propose a cap on fees

32 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees Advocating for Your Organization – Local Agency Positioning (Continued) Advocating for a Credit Program Check when completed Make a convincing argument for credit programs by noting that its inclusion provides a more equitable fee structure and can protect the stormwater fee program from legal challenges Advocate for credits that can apply to stormwater management at airports Advocating for Exemptions Check when completed Make the argument for exempting runways and taxiways if a stormwater fee program is considering exemptions, particularly for public roadways Requesting Stormwater Management Services Check when completed Clarify whether the stormwater fee program can provide services to the airport Determine which services are most appropriate for the airport Questions to Ask a Utility about Stormwater Services Some questions the airport may want to ask pertaining to services include: Is the utility authorized to provide the airport with maintenance? Is the airport eligible for assistance with capital projects? What types and frequency of services does the utility routinely conduct? Can the stormwater utility assist with routine maintenance of BMPs on the landside (e.g., mowing, trash removal, maintenance of vegetation, maintenance of easements and conveyances) alongside maintenance of municipal stormwater BMPs? Can airport needs be incorporated into larger municipal stormwater management efforts? Checklist for Incorporating Increased Stormwater Management into Future Airport Planning Incorporating Increased Stormwater Management into Future Airport Planning Include goals to reduce unnecessary impervious area and increase stormwater management (i.e., reduce and treat stormwater runoff) in various airport planning documents (e.g., airport master plans, stormwater management plans, SWPPPs, and sustainability plans) Consider implementing GSI BMPs or other measures to treat and/or retain increased stormwater runoff, particularly if the airport is planning new development in the near future If feasible, target areas to reduce unnecessary impervious area Check when completed

Next: Chapter 3 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Paying Stormwater Fees »
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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 193: Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees offers airports guidance in managing the stormwater-related utility fees that many local governments charge to help finance their capital and operating expenses. U.S. airports are experiencing a trend of local governments charging and increasing fees to operate and maintain stormwater infrastructure. These trends are having a growing impact on airport budgets. This report identifies, evaluates, and implements strategies for managing stormwater fees based on each agency's unique situation.

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