It is illegal to put a structure in a buffer or do any type of construction. Buffer restrictions even apply to septic systems, swimming pools, hard-surface pathways, and grading the soil. Local buffer ordinances also limit or ban mowing, cutting and removing plants in buffer areas.
Rules about buffers can be complicated. Requirements for water quality buffers are included in three local ordinances:
Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM)
Post Construction Controls
Water Supply Watersheds
Also, Goose Creek Buffers apply in sections of Mint Hill. These fall under state regulations.
The width of a water quality buffer and the activities that are allowed in that buffer can vary, depending on which ordinance applies. If more than one buffer ordinance applies, the ordinance that is most restrictive is the one that must be followed.
Effective buffers have:
A healthy, undisturbed cover of vegetation
Native plants that are well-adapted to the local climate, pests and disease
A tree canopy that shades surface water and moderates water temperatures
A dense root mass for reducing soil erosion
Little need for maintenance as the buffer mimics natural conditions
No buildings; no construction; no asphalt, concrete, brick surfaces; and no fill dirt
Use the web to find out if your property has mandatory water quality buffers
Water Quality Buffer Implementation Guidelines
Application for a Water Quality Buffer Disturbance
Click on above link and save the form to your computer. Fill out the application form, then submit to:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services
Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program
700 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
2012 presentation to Charlotte Regional Realtors about water quality buffers
See the Water Quality Buffer mailer
To ask Storm Water Services staff about water quality buffers, contact David Caldwell at 704-336-5452.
For questions about septic systems in water quality buffers, contact Lisa Corbitt at 704-336-5789.