Richmond VA > Public Utilities > Water Resources Division

Last Updated: 2019-05-09

Land Disturbing and Site Plan Development

A project requiring a land disturbing permit.

Preparing a site for land disturbing requires a permit separate from a building permit. The Department of Public Utilities, Stormwater Utility is required to monitor all land disturbing construction activities, erosion & sediment control, stormwater construction and Chesapeake Bay water quality requirements for all new and redevelopment projects.

The Water Resources Division issues three types of permits for to cover land disturbing for all new and redevelopment projects.

A Land Disturbing Permit (LDIS) is required for all proposed new or redevelopment land disturbing on a site greater than 4,000 square feet, not in a Chesapeake Bay buffer area, and not in a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) area of the City. This permit will cover all erosion and sediment control, site drainage, and floodplain regulatory requirements.

A RSMP Permit (RSMP) or (Richmond Stormwater Management Program permit) is a required for land disturbance one (1) acre or greater that drains to a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) area of the City. This permit will cover all erosion and sediment control, storm drainage installation for pipes, inlets, outfalls, and structural and non-structural best management practices, Chesapeake Bay and floodplain regulatory requirements.

A Heavy Highway contractor's License is required for this type of permit. To verify the location of your parcel please call (804)646-7586.

A Storm Drainage Permit (STRM) is required when a stormwater management system must be installed, upgraded, or improved. This permit typically is required in conjunction with a land disturbing permit but can be applied for when small stormwater work is required without land disturbing.


Land Disturbing FAQs

How do I know when I need a Permit?

Knowing the type of permit required takes some understanding of the amount of land disturbing proposed for your projects and its location in the city. Use this Flowchart to determine what is required.

A flowchart to determine if a permit is required.

Land Disturbing Permit & RSMP Permits require specific documentation in an Application Package prior being issued a permit. Once a completed application package has been received by our office, your plan will be reviewed within the required timeframe as established by the Department of Environmental Quality. While we do everything to turn review times around in a timely fashion, please allow 60 days for your initial review to be performed.

Use the Water Resources Plan review Checklist to prepare your plans for submission.

The status of your permit applications can be check at our Citizens Access Portal.

What Information needs to be on my Plans?

To best prepare your plans for plan review, we require you use our Water Resources Plan Review Checklist to ensure that all of the required information is on your plans. This checklist is a requirement for a completed land disturbing application.

The Stormwater Management Design and Construction Standards Manual can assist with all storm drainage design and specifications for proposed projects.

What If I am Building a Single Family Dwelling?

As of July 1, 2014, all Single Family Dwellings (SFD) disturbing 4,000 square feet of land or more are required to submit a separate land disturbing permit for all single family dwellings in or out of a common plan of development (subdivision). Single Family dwellings may be eligible for an Agreement In Lieu of Plan (AILP) in place of submitted a complete set of civil engineering plans. Please use the Flowchart to determine if a permit is required. A Small site plan along with a bond is required for those SFDs that are eligible for the AILP. Example of small site plan here.

The Small Site Plan must show:

  • The proposed dwelling
  • The adjacent street(s)
  • The adjacent parcel(s)
  • The limits of disturbance (LOD)
  • Silt fence protecting the site (SF)
  • A construction entrance (CE)

A completed application package is required for any land disturbing. Building permits will not be issued until the land disturbing permit has been approved. Please use the Permit Intake Application Checklist to determine what is required for a completed package.

What is a Chesapeake Bay Buffer Area and what does that mean for my Permit?

The Chesapeake Bay Protection Areas are special areas of the city that are designated as having an impacting on or draining to the Chesapeake Bay. These areas are divided into area buffer areas, the Resource Management Area (RMA) and the Resource Protection Area (RPA). The entire Chesapeake Buffers can be found on the Chesapeake Bay Map on the city's website.

The Chesapeake Bay Information Manual provides guidance to the public on the Chesapeake Bay and its requirements.

Land Development 2,500 square feet or greater in the RMA, The 500 foot buffer land ward of the 100' RPA Buffer, will require a RMSP permit. The VA Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has enacted a Stormwater regulations that required development in these areas to meet new water quality standards. Water quality treatment for each site is determined using the Runoff Reduction Spreadsheet. Using specific data from the project site will determine how much Phosphorus needs to be removed from the water from impervious areas on the site.

Land Development one (1) acre or greater in the RMA will also be required to provide water quality treatment as a part of the RMSP permit approval.

Development with the RPA, The 500 foot buffer land ward of a Perennial Water body, is restricted and requires mitigation of the impacts to the area beyond water quality. Please review the Riparian Buffer Modification & Mitigation Guidance Manual to determine what mitigation requirements are required.

For definitions and more detailed information visit the Chesapeake Bay Information page.

Where do I submit my Land Disturbing Permit Application Package

Our permit intake office is located at 900 East Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia in room 110 of City Hall. Please have your completed application package (plans, fees, documentation) ready prior to coming into the office. If you have questions about the permit application intake process please call (804)646-8106.

An electronic plan set is required with every application. Be prepared to come with an ftp site url location, thumb or jump drive with plans for downloading.

Visit our Citizens Access Portal to check the status of permit applications.

Will a Bond be Required?

A performance bond is required for every land disturbing project. (CIP projects excluded)

  • Sample Bond
  • Bonds amounts are determined by the amount of E & S measures required on the plans.
  • A Developer's Agreement (DA) must be signed and submitted along with the bond. The DA must be signed by the director. (This can take up to a week.)
  • Bonds can be paid by check, surety bond, or an irrevocable letter of credit.
  • Bonds are returned at the end of the project once the site has established 80% vegetation (not at CO).
  • Should you not complete your project, you bond can be called and used towards stabilizing the site.

Bonds are submitted directly to:

  • DPU Water Resources at 730 E Broad St., 8th floor

Who do I call for more information?

  • For general questions about permitting and plan application requirements:
    Sarah Henrickson, Project Mgmt. Analyst, (804)646-8106

  • For questions about bonds:
    Jahmir Moore, Admin Assistant, (804)646-8365

  • For engineering questions or guidance on specific projects under review:
    Stewart Platt, Engineer II, (804)646-6956
    Surani Olsen, Engineer I, (804)646-7674

  • For detailed questions about Chesapeake Bay requirements, floodplain, code interpretations or general questions:
    Surani Olsen, Engineer I, (804)646-7674

For more information, please call the Water Resources Division at (804)646-7586.

Or the City call center (804)646-4646.



RVA Impact Map displays projects (i.e. gas, water, paving, etc.), events (i.e. parades, races, block parties, etc.) and right of way impacts (i.e. detours, partial and full lane closures, barricades, parking restrictions, etc.) as an interactive map for informational and navigational purposes. Data displayed is refreshed as changes are made.

Contact Information:

Public Utilities
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St.,
Room 115
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-4646
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