Utility Fee Policy
Fees are charged on all properties within the corporate limits of the Town and are based on the area of impervious surfaces. Impervious surfaces are hard surfaces such as concrete, gravel driveways, asphalt and roofs. These surfaces significantly reduce or prevent rainwater and snow melt from seeping into the ground, and increase flooding and water pollution from stormwater runoff. Impervious surface areas are determined through aerial photography conducted in winter when impervious surfaces can be identified.
Bills for the stormwater utility fee are included on Orange County tax bills for Chapel Hill properties in Orange County, and as a separate billing for Chapel Hill properties in Durham County. The fee is payable September 1 of each year and past due after January 5 of the following year. The bills cover the period from January 1 through December 31 of each year, as do the tax bills. The property owner of record on January 1 of each year is responsible for payment or for pro-rating and paying the fee at closing. For more information on calculation and appeals, click here.
Single Family or Single Owner Properties
|Impervious Surface Area (square feet)||Fee|
|0 – 199||$0.00|
|200 – 1,000||$32.15|
|1,001 – 2,000||$64.30|
|2,001 – 3,000||$96.45|
|3,001 – 4,000||$128.60|
|4,001 – 5,000||$160.75|
|5,001 – 6,000||$192.90|
The fee increases by $32.15 for every additional 1,000 square feet or portion thereof.
Condominiums and Townhomes
In most cases, the fee for each multi-family unit, such as a condominium or townhouse, is determined by adding all impervious surfaces in the development and dividing the area by the number of residential units.
The Town also has alternate fee calculation methods for multi-family residential and similar commercial attached developments (such as townhouses and condominiums) to address concerns with homeowner’s associations and differently-sized units. The Stormwater Management Fee Redistribution Request Form allows owners of units or their owners’ association to change the way the total fee for their development is distributed among them. To change fee calculations in time for the next billing, forms must be submitted by May 1. The options for fee distribution are:
- Billing shared equally by unit owners (default billing method): The fee for the entire development is calculated from the sum of all impervious surface areas on both private and common property. The fee for each unit is the total fee divided by the number of units. Owners receive one bill for each unit; an association that may own common property in the development is not billed. This method is used for all multi-unit developments unless another option is requested.
- Consolidated billing to an association or designated agent: The fee for the entire development is calculated from the sum of all impervious surface areas on both private and common property, and the association or designated agent receives a single consolidated bill. Generally, an association then distributes this cost to property owners in the development.
- Shared billing between unit owners and an association: The fee for impervious square footage on common areas is calculated and billed to the association separately from the fee for private property. The remaining impervious surface areas on private properties are summed, and the total fee divided by the number of units. Each Owner receives a bill for his/her unit. If this option is selected, common area must be clearly delineated on a map accompanying the request to change the fee distribution.
- Proportional billing of unit owners: The fee for the entire development is calculated from the sum of all impervious surface areas on both private and common property. To determine the fee for each unit, the total fee is divided proportionally according to each unit’s share of square footage inside a building (interior floor area) as compared to the total interior floor area within the development as a whole. If this option is selected, interior floor area square footage for each owner’s property, plus the total interior floor area for the development, must accompany the request to change the fee distribution.
In some instances, exterior surfaces such as roofs and ground are owned by a single entity, and not by the unit owners. Please submit sections of the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions delineating ownership if this is the case for a recalculation.