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

Chapter: Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports

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Suggested Citation:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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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Page 53
Suggested Citation:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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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Page 54
Suggested Citation:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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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Page 56
Suggested Citation:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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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Page 57
Suggested Citation:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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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Page 58
Suggested Citation:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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:"Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports." 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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51 This section will include four case studies featuring airports that have attempted stormwater fee mitigation strategies. Each case study will provide as much detail as possible on the airport’s characteristics and experience, including • Airport type and size • FAA region • Climate • Governance • Geographic distribution • Permit type and complexity • History with stormwater fees • Strategies on managing/mitigating stormwater fees • Successes and failures Case Study of Airport A Characteristics Climate Zone Mixed-humid FAA Region Eastern FAA Category Non-primary Highlights • Stormwater fees paid by Airport A account for approximately nine percent of the airport’s annual budget. • Airport A receives a 40 percent credit on its stormwater fees for each of its three parcels. • The airport partially recovers its stormwater fees by incorporating them into lease agreements with its tenants. • Airport A is not owned by the city but receives an annual contribution to assist in the operational and developmental needs of the airport. This annual contribution has increased since the airport started paying stormwater fees. Airport Background and Experience with Stormwater Fees Airport A serves as a general aviation (GA) and reliever airport for a nearby small hub airport. It is owned by a city airport authority that is governed by a board. The authority is a political subdivision of the state that was created by the general assembly in the 1960s. Operating under an Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports

52 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees authority provides flexibility for the airport, allowing it to pursue measures such as condemning land and seeking revenue bonds to help with airport development. Stormwater Management The airport has its own general NPDES permit. The airport’s stormwater system primarily uses swales and conveyances and is designed to avoid standing water. The airport must keep wildlife restrictions in mind when designing stormwater infrastructure. Stormwater systems are designed to avoid standing water; there are no basins on airport property, but there are ditches. Runoff from the airport discharges to surface water. Stormwater Fees The city’s Department of Public Works established its Comprehensive Stormwater Manage- ment Program in the early- to mid-1990s in response to a state environmental agency mandate to manage stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces. The stormwater utility issues a monthly ERU-based stormwater fee to all developed property owners. The airport has been subject to a stormwater fee of $7.35 per ERU since 2002. They paid roughly $29,000 in the first year and currently make semi-annual payments of around $33,000, for a total of over $66,000 per year. The fees are based on three parcels, which are about 4.3 acres, 6.6 acres, and 392.7 acres in size. Airport engineering drawings are used to determine impervious area; the drawings show impervious area down to the 100th of an acre. The fees are about nine percent of the airport’s annual budget. Fees have remained constant over the last five years. However, in the next year, the airport expects new terminal area devel- opment (130,171 square feet) to cause a fee increase of about $3,200. The funds used to pay stormwater fees are kept separate from FAA funding the airport receives. This avoids concerns regarding potential revenue diversion. Relationship with City Airport A receives an annual contribution from the city of over $270,000 through a dis- cretionary city council resolution to assist in the operational (including staff salaries) and developmental needs of the airport. Over the past 40 years, there have been instances where the contribution was given as a grant, and other times as a non-interest-bearing loan that required repayment. All contributions were subject to the discretion of the city council at the time. Since the airport began paying stormwater fees, the contribution from the city has increased. The airport was not involved during the development of the stormwater fee. Airport A does not have scheduled, regular interactions with the stormwater utility, and the airport has not spoken with the city directly about stormwater fees. However, the city staff meet regularly and this could be an opportunity for engagement. The city public works director is working to make city water and sewer utilities available at the airport. Because the airport does not function under a city interdepartmental agreement, prop- erty at Airport A is considered commercial, and the stormwater utility is not authorized to dedicate city resources to maintaining airport property. There is no codified agreement binding the stormwater utility to provide maintenance services to the airport. However, the city has provided road repairs, ditch dredging, and vegetation removal when contractors have not been available or the airport did not have the proper equipment in the past. For these repairs, the airport paid the city for time and materials. The stormwater utility may also perform limited maintenance to ensure proper stormwater drainage within public drainage easements.

Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports 53 Airport Strategies for Reducing Stormwater Fees Stormwater Credits The stormwater utility provides credits for water quantity and quality BMPs. Landowners must submit an application exhibiting the effectiveness of their BMPs. The application is then reviewed by a drainage engineer. A 20 percent credit is given for BMPs addressing water quantity, and 20 percent is also given for BMPs addressing water quality. The credits are applied per parcel. Information on acceptable stormwater BMPs and associated design criteria is provided in the city’s stormwater management and drainage design manual. It includes specifications for swales and drainage ditches, among many other BMP types. The state also offers a website with comprehensive information on stormwater BMPs and specifications. Airport A requested credits toward its stormwater fee in 2007 through the Department of Public Works, and the city granted the airport a 40 percent credit for each of its three parcels of land in 2008. The maximum credit possible under the program is 50 percent (for a public BMP). The airport had not been aware of the credit program prior to 2007. Recovering Fees from Tenants Stormwater fees are partially recovered through fees incorporated into Airport A’s lease agreements with its tenants other than hangar tenants. The fee is not a separate line item but is incorporated in the overall expenses factored into setting rents. The airport is economically competitive in terms of hangar space. The hangar space is currently full, and there is a waiting list for new tenants. Airport customers include two fixed- based operators, one specialized aviation service operator (SASO), 88 hangar tenants, and nine sewer customers. Airport A does not recover stormwater fees from its hangar tenants. Airport A is currently looking to install two 100- × 120-foot hangars in its north terminal area. In anticipation of the stormwater fees that will rise following receipt of the hangars’ certificates of occupancy, the airport has calculated the hangars’ impervious area and added the estimated stormwater fees as a base cost to the cost to occupy for this new construction. This will allow the airport to recuperate the marginal increase in stormwater fees in the future. Exemptions Although Airport A does not currently qualify for any exemptions, the state’s department of aviation is presenting its case for the exemption of airport runways and taxiways from the stormwater fee calculation. The basis for the proposed exemption is that the state’s department of transportation does not pay stormwater fees for its roadways, and airport runways and taxiways may be similarly considered state assets. Legal Challenge The Navy has an auxiliary landing field in the city, and they must also pay stormwater fees. Previously, the Navy had challenged stormwater fees on the basis that they could be construed as a tax, but the state attorney general issued an opinion saying that the fee paid by the Navy was not a tax. Airport A expressed doubts, therefore, that it could challenge its stormwater fees on these grounds because of the Navy’s lack of success. Lessons Learned and Recommendations • Airport A recommends speaking with the stormwater utilities manager to discuss if the airport can receive credits on its stormwater fees. Additionally, highlighting the benefits that

54 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees the airport brings to the city when speaking with a board of supervisors or committees could be helpful in making a business case if the airport needs to negotiate on credits or fees. • Airport A recommends the following advice to other airports newly subject to stormwater fees: – A rate structure based on percentage of impervious surface would probably be more favorable to airports than a fee structure based on ERUs. – It is important to be proactive in exploring credit programs offered by the utility. – It may be useful to talk to tenants and phase-in fees to generate the revenue necessary to cover stormwater fees from the square footage of hangar they are occupying. This could offset some of the fees and is a better strategy than introducing the fees to tenants all at once. Case Study of Airport B Characteristics Climate Zone Cold FAA Region Great Lakes FAA Category Medium hub Highlights • Fees for Airport B are substantially reduced due to their runways, taxiways, aprons, and deic- ing pads being exempt as public rights-of-way. • Airport B incorporates stormwater charges into lease agreements with its tenants at the air- port, but these charges are not itemized in the agreements. • Airport B receives assistance from the sewer district with some maintenance of a stormwater system that affects airport drainage. Airport Background and Experience with Stormwater Fees Airport B is owned by the local city municipality and operated by the city’s port control. The airport is located several miles from the downtown area. It is the largest airport in the state. Airport GA is a general aviation airport and FAA-designated reliever to Airport B. It is owned by the same city as Airport B and is considered part of the city’s airport system. Both airports pay stormwater fees to the regional combined sewer district. Stormwater Management Airport B has several post-construction stormwater BMPs, including a large central detention basin, debris racks, and several other detention, retention, and bioretention basins. They also installed a vegetated roof in June 2017. The airport would like to receive credits for these BMPs in the future. They also have an interest in rain harvesting but have not yet had the resources to pursue it. Airport B created its own Master Storm Water Management Plan to manage the placement of BMPs without compromising airfield safety initiatives. They are currently evaluating options to better streamline their stormwater management. Understaffing and insufficient communication and coordination between the executive staff and technical staff has made it difficult for Airport B to efficiently invest time and resources into the stormwater management program to fully realize its effects and potential. Currently, Airport B does not employ on-call consultants for stormwater management because of the time

Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports 55 and resources involved in funding, contracting with, and managing an outside consultant. They hope to bring an additional staff member on board. Stormwater Fees The sewer district’s stormwater management program is focused on stream and river main- tenance and improvement, soil erosion, and stormwater quantity control. The sewer district’s program has some redundancy with the requirements in the airport’s NPDES permits, and the airport feels it is less comprehensive than their own stormwater management program. Stormwater fees are billed on a quarterly basis separate from other utility bills. The airports are charged on a nonresidential ERU-based fee structure, which is based on impervious area. Impervious area is calculated using a GIS system and digitized data, and the sewer district maintains an online interactive map-based tool where the public can see how the stormwater fees were calculated for any property. The sewer district began charging stormwater fees in 2010, but a lawsuit opposing the fees suspended the fee program for a few years. The sewer district ultimately won the suit on the ruling that the fees aligned with their charter to reduce pollution. Airport B and Airport GA were not part of the group of plaintiffs in the suit. The airport’s fees are based on its roofs and parking lots. The runways, taxiways, aprons, and deicing pads are exempt because they are considered public rights-of-way similar to roads and highways, which are exempt (a precedent set by the state’s department of transportation). For the past few years, the airport has paid about $135,400 annually in fees. There will be no rate increase in stormwater fees for the next five years. The sewer district has a cost-sharing program, which invests a portion of the stormwater fees back into the community to use for stormwater management projects of a local nature. According to the sewer district, the community cost-share program provides funding to member commu- nities for community-specific stormwater management practices. Twenty-five percent of the fees collected go to the cost-share account for the community. Eligible projects must include public outreach and address current or minimize new stormwater flooding, erosion, or water quality problems. Catastrophic failures take precedence in the queue for funds. Capital, operational, maintenance, and administrative expenses not directly related to stormwater management are not eligible for the cost-share. The airport has not yet accessed funds through the cost-sharing program, but they have been sent information, including information about grants. Relationship with Sewer District Communication between the airport and sewer district is currently ad hoc (i.e., if there are questions) rather than routine. The city is represented by the city water pollution control agency on a watershed advisory committee, although there is no representative specifically from the airport on the committee. A master plan has been started for the watershed in which Airport B is located. The sewer district helps maintain stormwater structures that qualify as “regional assets,” which are generally defined as assets that drain 300 acres or more and, therefore, have regional significance. For example, the sewer district can assist the airport in maintaining in-stream debris racks, which are outside of the airport property. This amounts to approximately $10,000 in savings from avoided servicing costs for the airport. The airport has explored the eligibility of their infrastructure (especially one of the large detention basins) to qualify as regional assets. This determination has not yet been made. Con- straints on resources, such as understaffing, have made it difficult for Airport B to undertake the application process in earnest.

56 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees Airport Strategies for Reducing Stormwater Fees Stormwater Credits The sewer district has a credit program. However, the airport staff have not yet had time and resources to complete the application process for their impervious area. The credit program provides four tracks—individual, quantity, quality, and education credits. The division between quantity and quality credits allows parcel owners to receive credits for engineering designed to control peak flow and volume as well as a separate, smaller credit program for BMPs that improve stormwater quality. Engineering designs for BMPs must be provided, and credits in all tracks must be recertified every year. Airport B does not currently receive credits toward its stormwater fee. It does, however, have several post-construction BMPs for which it would like to receive credits in the future. When the sewer district first initiated its stormwater management program, they had indicated that Airport B’s oil-water separators do not qualify for stormwater fee credits. However, the sewer district has indicated many types of stormwater BMPs can be used for credits, and they will consult with landowners who want credits for BMPs that are not on the stormwater manual’s list, which is periodically updated. Recovering Fees from Tenants Airport B partially recovers its stormwater fees from its tenant lease agreements. The fees are included as part of the overall expenses that the airport recoups in lease agreements; the fees are not included as line items. Exemptions Runways, taxiways, aprons, and deicing pads at Airport B and Airport GA are currently exempted from the airport’s ERU-based stormwater fee calculation under the sewer district’s stormwater management code. Following the logic of the stormwater management code, which exempts public road rights-of-way and railroad rights-of-way, runways and taxiways are exempt from the stormwater fee. Further, the runoff from the deicing pad is diverted approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of the year. The only impervious areas that are included in the airports’ stormwater fee calculations are roofs and parking lots. Exempting runways, taxiways, aprons, and deicing pads has resulted in a 65 to 70 percent reduction in fees at Airport B and more than 80 percent reduction at Airport GA. Lessons Learned and Recommendations • Airport B had invested a significant amount of money into its stormwater program before stormwater fees were introduced and felt the stormwater management program operated by the sewer utility was not necessary for them. They emphasize the potential value of early planning conversations between airports and stormwater fee programs to save time and reduce challenges for both the sewer district and the airport. • The exemption of runways, taxiways, aprons, and deicing pads at Airports A and GA was critical to achieving significant reductions in its stormwater fees, and the airport encourages others to pursue similar exemptions, especially if other local jurisdictions have already set the precedent. • Internal coordination and adequate resources at the airport can help manage stormwater fees and make use of resources offered by the stormwater fee program. Airport B and Airport GA are not using the sewer district’s credit program in part due to lack of staff time and disconnect between the priorities of the technical staff and financial staff, which have made it difficult for them to prioritize and submit the required paperwork.

Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports 57 Case Study of Airport C Characteristics Climate Zone Marine FAA Region Northwest Mountain FAA Category Non-primary Highlights • Airport C is a small airport subject to longstanding (since the 1980s) stormwater fees from an older utility with a complex fee structure based on percent impervious area. • The airport received a substantial 35 percent decrease in fees in 2013 for having a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. • Airport C, when possible, removes impervious surface when redevelopment occurs. The air- port successfully recovers costs for stormwater fees from tenants and leaseholders on airport property on a proportionate basis. The airport also charges tenants who benefit from use of the airport’s regional stormwater system. Airport Background and Experience with Stormwater Fees Airport C is owned by the county in which it is located and spans approximately 1,200 acres. The airport falls under scrutiny to protect the surrounding waterways and the endangered species within it. The endangered species status of salmon and orca have led to increasingly stringent stormwater regulations. Stormwater Management Airport C’s surrounding waterways provide an important habitat for endangered species, necessitating stringent regulatory requirements for stormwater discharges. Development projects in the county must include an acceptable stormwater management program, which is usually developed by an engineering firm. The airport has four drainage basins, three of which ultimately discharge to the surrounding waterways. The other drainage basin discharges to a nearby lake. The airport holds an industrial NPDES permit and is subject to the Phase II NPDES permit managed by the county. Stormwater Fees Airport C is located in multiple jurisdictions and pays two separate stormwater fees—one to the county and one to the city. The county stormwater fee arose because the county needed a revenue stream to support staffing and other expenses associated with meeting Clean Water Act requirements. There is an increasing amount of scrutiny and regulation in the cities and state driven by the need to address endangered species. The county adopted a code that applies the stormwater fee to property in the unincorporated part of the county. The county’s stormwater fee structure includes a flat fee for residential properties and a tiered fee structure based on percentage of impervious area for commercial properties. The fee is applied per quarter acre of impervious area for tax parcels on commercial properties. Fees per parcel currently start at approximately $27 per quarter acre for the “Very Light” category up to approximately $270 per quarter acre for the “Very Heavy” category. Parcels with less than 1 percent impervious area are exempt. Airport property located in the unincorporated part of the county is subject to the tiered county stormwater fee for commercial properties. Airport C’s property includes approximately

58 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees 160 tax parcels of various sizes subject to the county fee. Every year, about six to eight parcels undergo a change in impervious area due to development. Also, 12 acres of the airport property are subject to the city’s Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)-based stormwater fee. Airport C has been paying stormwater fees since 1998. At that time, stormwater fees amounted to approximately $95,000 per year. By 2003, the fees had risen significantly to approximately $250,000 per year. Currently, Airport C pays approximately $372,000 per year in stormwater fees to the county. Airport Strategies for Mitigating Stormwater Fees Airport C has minimized its stormwater fees by implementing several innovative and business-oriented strategies. These strategies include reducing impervious areas where possible within a tax parcel to remain in the lower rate tier, receiving stormwater credits for on-site deten- tion facilities, and passing stormwater fees along to tenants on a proportionate share basis. The airport also acts somewhat like a stormwater utility by charging tenants that use the airport’s stormwater system. Stormwater Credits Airport C participates in the county stormwater credit program. The rate category for com- mercial properties is reduced by one category if the runoff discharges to an on-site stormwater and surface water management facility that complies with the detention and water quality regu- lations and standards set forth in the county drainage code and is properly maintained by the owner. The technical requirements for stormwater structures are described in the county’s drain- age manual. Airport C took advantage of the county stormwater credit program for the many airport-owned regional on-site stormwater detention BMPs. Furthermore, county code states that for property located in the surface water manage- ment district and for which all or a portion of the property is regulated by a NPDES permit (33 U.S.C § 1251), then the stormwater fees imposed under the authority of Chapter 36.89 RCW of the state code shall be reduced by 35 percent. This reduction does not apply to government- owned rights-of-way. Airport C does receive the 35 percent fee reduction for holding a NPDES permit. This credit policy took effect in 2013. Airport C’s stormwater fees dropped from $580,000 in 2012 to $375,000 in 2013. Airport C acknowledged that it was doing a large amount of work to comply with the NPDES permit. The airport maintains catch basins, oil-water separators, and regional detention facilities. There were other property owners similarly concerned about the fees, and the county was therefore attuned to issues regarding fairness and equality. The fee reduction has been an effective mechanism for maintaining fairness because property owners with a NPDES permit are already managing their own stormwater. Recovering Fees from Tenants In 2003, Airport C began recovering stormwater fees from its tenants. Airport C charges stormwater fees per square foot of leased area according to the percent of impervious surface within a parcel, based on five-tiered categories. For example, if a tenant is leasing space that is completely impervious and is located within a tax parcel that has 20–39 percent impervious surface, the tenant is charged a rate per square foot for the 20–39 percent impervious category. The accounting to calculate fees at the airport can become complex at times, as some tenant properties may span multiple parcels, and some large parcels contain multiple tenants. However, the staff has developed a standard system for determining fees.

Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports 59 Stormwater Facility Policy In 2006, Airport C developed a policy to charge tenants for using stormwater detention facilities constructed and maintained by the airport. The airport began charging tenants on a proportional basis for use of the airport’s detention facilities. Airport C currently charges its tenants a one-time connection fee for new developments based on the size of the leased area as well as a monthly fee for the detention facility land area and its associated maintenance based on their proportional share of that detention facility. This stormwater fee policy only applies to leases that have been signed since the policy was instated in 2006. As a lease is amended, the tenant becomes subject to the policy. There is a large industrial tenant at Airport C. About 60 percent of that tenant’s leases were signed after the stormwater fee policy was initiated; the rest were signed before the policy started. This tenant has not objected to the stormwater fee policy. In fact, the tenant also pays to use one of the airport’s large regional detention facilities to manage runoff from its adjacent, off-site property. Reducing Impervious Area This stormwater fee structure has encouraged Airport C to minimize pavement coverage. Minimizing pavement (i.e., impervious area) is particularly advantageous on large parcels whose percent impervious area is near a percent impervious threshold. For example, for a 151-acre parcel with 79 percent impervious area, a small increase in impervious area would increase the stormwater fee above the 80 percent threshold, resulting in a $26,000 (32.3 percent) fee increase. During the reconstruction of a runway at the airport in 2012, Airport C removed four acres of asphalt pavement thereby reducing the impervious area to 77.7 percent in that parcel and making other areas within that tax parcel available for development without an increase in stormwater fees. This asphalt reduction also reduced the size of the required deten- tion facility for the runway reconstruction project. Lessons Learned and Recommendations • Understanding the utility’s stormwater fee structure and credit program is critical for mini- mizing costs. In this case, a fee structure that uses both parcels and percent impervious area rather than ERUs allows for planning and property structuring to manage fees. • It is important to understand the connections between what the airport does for stormwater management and what the stormwater fee program offers credits for. • Other aspects of maintaining and updating airport property can help reduce fees, and the airport can provide additional information (e.g., demonstrated decreases in impervious area) to the stormwater fee program to support negotiations regarding fees. Case Study of Airport D Characteristics Climate Zone Hot-Humid FAA Region ASO—Southern Region FAA Category Primary Highlights • The airport does not pay the stormwater fees to the county on county-owned land and maintains and improves its own stormwater system.

60 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees • Some leaseholders on the airport property are private entities, and they are billed for the stormwater fee directly by the utility. • The county stormwater fees are based on impervious area. • Credits for the county stormwater fee are based on the reduction of stormwater impacts on the county system by the property owner implementing on-site stormwater management systems. • Some of the airport’s leaseholders are allowed to claim stormwater fee credits for their use of nearby detention ponds. Airport Background and Experience with Stormwater Fees Airport D is an FAA-classified Primary Airport with commercial passenger service, cargo, military, and general aviation operations. The airport began commercial operations in 1957 and is a 2,000-acre facility. Airport D is county-owned and is operated by an airport director designated by and under the supervision of the county administrator and board of county commissioners. The airport director is tasked with ensuring compliance with FAA, TSA, and other federal, state, and local laws as well as all ordinances, rules, and regulations governing the airport, together with any other powers granted by the county board. Stormwater Management Most of Airport D’s stormwater runoff drains either directly or indirectly into the nearby MS4. The airport is covered under the county NPDES MS4 permit. Airport D is subject to the requirements of the special district that regulates water quality concerns. The airport is operating under a 2011 stormwater master plan that will be updated in the fall of 2018. Stormwater ponds must be permitted by the district, and the county has its own site plan and permitting system, which follows a similar format. Airport D uses the county BMP guidebook for regulating and designing stormwater facilities. The guidebook incorporates the special dis- trict guidance and standards. It is not clear if tenants that use airport-driven stormwater facility planning and design can apply for credits. Currently, approximately 1,000 acres of the property are used for airport activities and another 1,000 acres are used and leased for business parks. About 180 acres of the airport are zoned for development but will require a complete site and development review assessment to determine potential stormwater management facility locations. However, if a sufficiently large area of land can be identified between multiple tenants and with the appropriate topography to collect runoff from each of the tenants, then a regional pond can be constructed rather than multiple individual facilities. Stormwater Fees During the recession years, the county’s general fund from property taxes was used for stormwater maintenance and installation of new stormwater infrastructure. Although the county had been in discussions about establishing a stormwater fee since the 1980s, the county commission finally indicated support in 2011. The county stormwater fee was established and implemented in 2013 after a feasibility and rate study was conducted. The fee was established as a dedicated source of funding to address a range of stormwater responsibilities, including the following: operation and maintenance; construction of new stormwater infrastructure; management; NPDES MS4 permit compliance; and enforcement, monitoring, and education for stormwater management in the county. The rate structure uses an ERU of 2,239 square feet, which is the median area of impervious surface for SFRs. For properties other than SFRs, aerial photography is used to determine the

Case Studies: Strategies for Reducing Local Stormwater Fees for Airports 61 square footage of impervious area. That number is then divided by the ERU and multiplied by the rate. Any credits awarded are then subtracted from that fee. The fee only applies to unincorporated territory—individual cities within the county apply their own stormwater fees. The county public works department handles the stormwater fee program. The airport is con- sidered an enterprise fund and does not pay stormwater fees because it is owned by the county. However, there are long-term tenants that are required to pay stormwater fees; they are billed directly for the stormwater fee by the county. If the airport were required to pay, the fees would be approximately $150,000, which is about 1 percent of the airport’s annual budget. Relationship with the Utility Because the airport is an enterprise fund, it does not receive tax dollars or other funding from the county. Operating the airport and business parks is the only source of revenue. Because the airport is considered a business, business-related expenses such as technical services are paid for directly by the airport. The airport performs its own maintenance on the stormwater system via the enterprise fund, although the county assists with projects that border the airport and manages stormwater that flows into county land. County maintenance activities include road repair, sweeping, and ditch maintenance. Because the stormwater fee is intended to fund operation and maintenance of drainage systems located on public roads, the airport, though county-owned, does not qualify for that earmarked funding. The county and the airport communicate as needed if the airport or its leaseholders have questions. Legal Challenge Some of the language in the landhold leases at the airport is old and nonspecific. At one point, a lessee sued the county because their lease language prohibited the county from billing them for stormwater fees. They won the case, and since then, the county has made sure that future leases have the correct language to enable them to bill for the fees. In addition, there have been two major landholders in the county that have registered complaints against the county utility—one dog racing track and one mobile home park. Both have very large impervious areas resulting in significant assessments. Airport Strategies for Reducing Stormwater Fees Stormwater Credit The county has a fee credit program to mitigate stormwater fees. Credits are based on the percentage of the stormwater volume stored compared to volume generated from the 100-yr/24-hr storm event prior to final discharge. Credits are not given for specific types of BMPs, although the county is considering implementing such an approach in the future. Because the credit is based on volume retained and treated, a good estimation of BMP performance is crucial (calculations provided by applicants are reviewed by an engineer at the Department of Public Works). Entities applying for credit do so by filling out an application, which needs to be completed by a professional engineer, and signing a maintenance agreement. Credits issued are valid forever, but the landowner is required to submit a certificate every two years to confirm that they are still in compliance, followed by a site inspection conducted by the county. The county primarily uses the special district certification for BMP type and performance to look for credit opportunities. If a landholder’s ponds are compliant, recertified, and permitted, it can help create credit opportunities. The county will inspect stormwater BMPs if the district is not able to complete the field inspections to ensure compliance.

62 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees The airport does not pay fees to the utility for county-owned property, but tenants at the airport do pay fees if not covered under their lease agreement. The airport can help the tenants understand available credits or facilitate providing stormwater services, such as joint stormwater ponds, that the tenants could use for credits. In 2014, the airport allowed some leaseholders to claim credit for retention ponds located near 12 or 13 parcels owned by leaseholders. Thirty to 40 percent of leaseholders are participating in the fee credit program. Not every eligible lease- holder is taking advantage of the fee credit program, as some of their stormwater structures predate state requirements for pond permitting. Exemptions The only entities that are exempt from paying the stormwater fee are also exempt from all assessments by state statutes, of which there are only a few in the county. Generally, unless the entity is owned outright by the county, they will pay a stormwater fee. The assessment is implemented on a “two-roll” system. Under the Stormwater Roll, private properties are assessed via the property tax bill under the Non Ad Valorem section and have no exemptions. Government parcels (federal, state, and county-owned land) cannot receive a property tax bill. Therefore, under the government roll, those parcels are issued a government fee invoice every year, which are paid directly to the county, not the tax collector. Both tracks receive discounts for paying early. There are some laws that allow for government agencies to refuse payment. Therefore, not all parcels in the government roll pay the stormwater fee. The federal government does not always pay, and anything the county owns—the same entity that handles billing—does not pay either. The airport land, as well as the runways, taxiways, main terminal, and parking, are owned by the county, and therefore they are not subject to a stormwater fee. The Coast Guard building and federal base are owned by the federal government; neither pay the fee. However, many long-term landhold leases exist for the airport structures (such as some hangers) and are billed as private entities. Because of the way these long-term landhold leases are set up, the county can send the tax bill and assessment. There are leaseholders at the airport that own parcels in an industrial area that extends beyond the airport. These parcels are also credited through the fee credit program. Though no landholders (tenants) have outright asked for exemptions, some have considered increasing BMPs or retrofitting to produce a reduction in their fees. Lessons Learned and Recommendations • Comprehensive airport planning and cooperative stormwater management may reduce fees for tenants that are part of the program. • Tenants or payees should confirm their impervious surfaces and rates and check for available credits. • Upgrading existing facilities may increase the number of facilities that are eligible for credits. • It is important for tenants to be proactive in exploring stormwater fee crediting programs offered by the stormwater utility. • Airports and their tenants should take advantage of industry networks to stay abreast of the latest requirements from local agencies and developments in BMPs. Airport D makes use of the state airports council as an information network. The county emphasizes the importance of being familiar with how much impervious area is on the parcel and what stormwater treatment is available, as well as familiarizing land lease- holders with the fee structure. Credits can be obtained by maintaining ponds and ensuring their compliance.

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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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