See Town of Chapel Hill's Fee Schedule.
General Billing Information
Annual stormwater utility fees are included on county tax bills for Chapel Hill properties in Orange County. A separate bill is mailed for Chapel Hill properties in Durham County each September. The bills cover the period from January 1 through December 31 of each year. The property owner of record on January 1 of each billing year is responsible for payment or for pro-rating and paying the fee at closing. Bills must be paid by January 5 after they are received.
How Your Bill Is Calculated
All impervious surfaces are identified (this includes rooftops, permanent structures, paved surfaces, sidewalks, and gravel driveways) and the amount of impervious surface in each parcel is calculated. Impervious surfaces do not allow precipitation and runoff to infiltrate the soil, leading to increased water pollution and flooding.
A fee of $32.15 per year is charged for every 1,000 square feet or portion thereof (Equivalent Rate Unit – ERU) of impervious surface for single family and most commercial properties. The fee on a property having 1,700 square feet of impervious surface area is $64.30(2 ERUs x $32.15/ERU); a property having 3,800 square feet of impervious surface area is charged a fee of $128.60 (4 ERUs x $32.15/ERU).
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 by the number of residential units. See Issues of Condominiums, Townhouses, and Similar Attached Developments below.
To find out what impervious surfaces we include on your particular lot for fee calculation, you may send in a Stormwater Management Fee Information Request Form. We will create a map for you showing what was included as impervious surface on your lot. During this process, we will review and verify the calculation of your bill. The map will be sent by surface mail, along with a letter explaining the calculation method and advising you of any changes in impervious square footage. If our review discovers an error in the calculation of your bill, a new invoice will be issued with the map.
You may appeal if you feel the calculation of impervious surface on your lot is incorrect. Appeals can be based on the existence, location, size, or composition of an impervious surface. Gravel driveways and parking areas are not able to be appealed unless specifically engineered to be pervious or porous. The Appeals Form describes the submittal requirements for appeals, and has more detail on the issue of gravel driveways.
Issues of Condominiums, Townhouses, and Similar Attached Developments
Unless requested otherwise, fees are calculated by summing the impervious surface area across an entire multi-family development, calculating the total fee, and dividing the total fee by the number of units in that parcel (fee option #1 below).
The Town has alternate fee calculation methods for multi-family residential and similar commercial attached developments (such as townhouses and condominiums) to address concerns with homeowners’ associations and differently sized units. TheStormwater Management Fee Redistribution Request Form allows owners of units or their owners’ associations to change the way the total fee for their development is distributed among them. To change fee calculations, the form must be submitted by February 28th of the billing year. The options for fee distribution are:
- Billing shared equally by unit owners. 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 individual bills for each unit; an association that may own common property in the development would not be billed. This is the Town’s default method of fee distribution, and is used for all multi-unit attached 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 distributes this cost to property owners in the development.
- Shared billing between unit owners and an association. The association receives the bill for impervious surfaces on common areas, and unit owners are billed separately for impervious surface areas on private property. The total area of privately owned impervious surface is divided by the number of units to get the fee for each unit. Owners receive an individual bill for each unit. If this option is selected, common areas 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.