Published on: Wednesday, August 23, 2023 News

How Will the City's Stormwater & Tree Protection Policies Impact the Minor Master Plan?

Process for Stormwater Permit

Stormwater management is regulated by the City of Takoma Park. The purpose of the stormwater permit process is to ensure the safe conduct of stormwater runoff for certain properties when being developed or expanded. It identifies both quantitative aspects (volume) and qualitative aspects (pollution removal). The permit requirements are identified in City Code, Section 16.04.140 and are based on the Maryland Dept of the Environment Stormwater Management Design Manual. The Maryland Manual defines the scope and extent of Environmental Site Design (ESD) elements and how they can be quantified to achieve ESD to the Maximum Extent Practical (MEP) as defined by law.

All institutional, commercial or industrial construction projects within the City limits require a stormwater permit, regardless of the size of the project. (For residential construction, the project must disturb 5,000 square feet in order to require a permit.)

The process includes three steps:

  • Concept Plan Review,
  • Site Plan Review,
  • Final Permitting.

For residential projects and smaller commercial projects, the concept and site plan review phase can be combined. During the Site Development phase of the permit process, the City will require geotechnical analysis, both for construction and for the stormwater features of the building. The final step concludes with issuance of a stormwater permit, providing the plans have been verified and meet the requirements.

Sediment and erosion control are a process overseen by Montgomery County, through the Department of Permitting Services. An applicant is required to apply for a Sediment and Erosion Control permit, as per the requirements of the County’s construction permitting process. The City does not review or issue approval for sediment and erosion control. However, the City works with the County inspector to ensure that the permit conditions are being followed and reports any perceived violations to the inspector.

The requirements for stormwater management are specified by City Code (Title 16), which references adherence to the Maryland Stormwater Design Manual (MDE Manual), and State of Maryland requirements outlined in Maryland Stormwater Design Manual: .

The MDE Stormwater Management Manual and the City’s permitting process and review guidelines are detailed on the City’s website:

The vacant hospital campus is approximately 20 acres, and the proposed Minor Master Plan amendment requires that “Redevelopment on site should be addressed under a single Sketch Plan application to the greatest extent practicable to ensure the site as a whole meets the recommendations of this Plan.”

The site currently has no stormwater management quality controls and all run-off from the site flows to the surrounding area and into Sligo Creek through over land sheet flow or via a limited number of inlets and discharge pipes. The stormwater management requirements for the site will require treatment of 50% of the run-off from the existing impervious area and treatment of 100% of run-off from the new impervious area added over the existing impervious area for the one-year storm.

The proposed stormwater management plans may include a number of different measures:

  • green roofs,
  • bioretention facilities,
  • permeable paving,
  • infiltration basin,
  • riparian buffer
  • and other options.

County requirements include a 100-foot buffer from the stream for any new development.

Process for Tree Removal & Tree Protection Permit

While the County does have tree replanting and protection requirements for development projects, the City maintains separate requirements related to tree removal and protection.

When a final site plan is determined, a developer will formally apply for the tree removal and Tree Protection Plan permits, if necessary. The City’s arborist will review the applications and assess the final number of tree replants as well as the conditions for tree protection. The City’s tree removal permit process requires the planting of replacement trees or payment of fee in lieu.

The details of the tree removal permit process are on the City website:

The details of the Tree Protection Plan requirements are on the city website: