Return To Home Page
Translate to Spanish

New and Redevelopment    

New and redevelopment projects in Santa Barbara County must be designed to prevent water quality impacts from occurring, not just during construction, but throughout the life of the project.

County staff review project applications to determine mitigating conditions consistent with requirements in Section E.12 of the Statewide NPDES Municipal General Permit  and, for projects located in the NPDES Permit Area, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Post-Construction Stormwater Management Requirements

Stormwater Technical Guide

All regulated projects shall follow the Santa Barbara County Stormwater Technical Guide.

Stormwater Technical Guide
Stormwater Control Plan Template
Stormwater Control Plan Template – Small (Tier 1) Projects
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Stormwater Control Measures Sizing Calculator
SizingCalculator Instructions – Powerpoint

An example Stormwater Control Plan for a commercial project is here; an example Stormwater Control Plan for a residential subdivision is here.

Is my project subject to these requirements?

Applicability depends on where your project is located and the type and scope of development.

     1.  Projects Located In the NPDES Permit Area

The NPDES Permit Area generally coincides with the urban areas of Santa Barbara County.  To determine if your project is located in the NPDES Permit Area, view the map here. Projects located in the NPDES Permit Area that meet the following criteria shall implement stormwater runoff measures:

Type of New or Redevelopment Project

Application Completeness

Tier 1
Projects, including single-family homes, that create or replace 2,500 square feet or more of impervious surface

Submit a Stormwater Control Plan for Small (Tier 1) Projects

Tier 2
Projects, other than single-family homes, that create or replace 5,000 square feet or more of net* impervious surface

Submit a Stormwater Control Plan that addresses Site Design (Tier 1), runoff treatment and source control measures (Tier 2)

Tier 3
Projects, other than  single-family homes, that create or replace 15,000 square feet or more of impervious surface.

Detached single-family homes that create or replace 15,000 square feet or more of net* impervious surface.

Submit a Stormwater Control Plan that addresses site design (Tier 1), runoff treatment and source control measures (Tier 2), and stormwater retention (Tier 3)

Tier 4

Projects that create and/or replace 22,500 square feet or more of impervious surface (collectively over the entire project site).

Follow the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District requirements for managing post-development peak flows.  Note the County's requirements are typically more stringent than Tier 4 requirements and have a lower threshold of applicability than Tier 4 projects.

 * Net impervious surface equals new and replaced impervious area minus the total pre-project-to-post-project reduction in impervious area (if any). 

Projects that have already received their first ministerial permit (e.g. a building permit), or projects that have previously been approved through a discretionary action (e.g. Planning Commission approval) but are not yet built, are not Regulated Projects and therefore do not have to apply the Post-Construction Stormwater Requirements (R3-2013-0032 §(B)(c)(i)). Specifically, all land divisions (Tentative Parcel Map or Tract Map) approved by a decision-maker prior to March 6, 2014, would qualify as the “first discretionary approval of project design”.

     2.  Projects Located Outside the NPDES Permit Area

Projects not located in the NPDES Permit Area, but that do meet the following criteria, shall be conditioned to provide treatment of stormwater runoff. These conditions can be satisfied by implementing stormwater runoff treatment measures as described in the County’s Stormwater Technical Guide for a Tier 2 project:

Type of New or Redevelopment Project

Application Completeness

1. Any development 1.0 acre or larger

2. Residential subdivisions with 10 or more dwelling units

3. Commercial / Industrial / Institutional that creates or replaces 0.5 acres or more impervious area

4. Parking lots that create or replace 5,000 square feet or more or that have 25 or more parking spaces and are potentially exposed to storm water runoff

5. Automobile repair shops

6. Gasoline stations

7. Restaurants

Submit a Stormwater Control Plan that addresses site design and water quality treatment (Tier 2) and source control measures


Project Review / Approval & Construction

In order to obtain land use or zoning clearance for approved projects that submitted a Storm Water Control plan, the project applicant must submit a deposit for the review/approval of final construction documents, including the Stormwater Control Plan and construction checklist (see the instructions on page 3-7 of the Stormwater Technical Guide). 

Plan Check Deposit Form. Deposit amount is $1,150 for development plans (DVPs) and tract maps (TPMs); $320 for all other permit types. Checks payable to: Project Clean Water. Submit final plans to: Project Clean Water, 130 E. Victoria Suite 200, Santa Barbara.

In addition, the owner must sign a formal agreement with the Public Works Department for the long-term operation and maintenance of stormwater control facilities described in the Stormwater Control Plan.

Maintenance Agreement. Form used to document the site-specific maintenance agreement terms between property owner/subdivider and County.  Project Clean Water will prepare this form.  The owner's signature must be notarized.

Maintenance Plan.  The maintenance plan is Exhibit C of the Maintenance Agreement (above).  The maintenance plan describes the specific activities that must be performed to maintain the performance objectives of the original design.  It will include a list of all structural measures to be maintained, a schedule for maintenance, and a site plan or vicinity map showing the location of all structural measures.  If operational BMPs are included in the final Stormwater Control Plan, a description of those long-term practices will also be provided.  The document should be easy-to-use for any future owner unfamiliar with stormwater measures.  The site plan must be legible and reproducible per County Recorder, which means black-and-white, no small fonts or faint marks such as topo lines, and either 8x11 or 11x17.  An example Maintenance Plan for commercial projects is here; and an example Maintenance Plan for a residential subdivision is here.          

Inspection & Maintenance Log. This is an example of an inspection and maintenance log that could be used in a Maintenance Plan, if multiple facilities need to be inspected.  Revise this template as appropriate for your project site, using language consistent with the Maintenance Plan.

Once the project is constructed, prior to Occupancy Clearance, the owner must provide certification by the project engineer that the stormwater control facilities were installed per approved plans or as approved by Project Clean Water.

Engineer's Certificate. Form filled out by responsible engineer upon successful installation of water quality facility as per plans.

Storm Drain Markers.  If your project is conditioned to install storm drain markers, the County currently uses 4” round stainless metal markers in red and blue, that read “NO DUMPING * NO TIRE BASURA”. They are manufactured by Almetec.

Bioretention Signage.  Signage is required.  If you have a bioretention area, you may use LIDSigns or other similar product for the signage requirement.  Install the signs in clearly visible locations, above the expected height of planned vegetation.

     LIDSign  BMP Marker

Bioretention Soil Specifications.  Bioretention soils shall be specified on the plans as a mixture of washed sand (60-70%) and compost (30-40%).  The specification developed by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies (BASMAA) is recommended. Information on how that specification was developed is found here.  For potential suppliers of the soil, or any of the other components of bioretention (permeable gravel layer, plants), see the Low Impact Development Initiative and download the list of vendors here.

In-Situ Soil Testing.  Soil percolation rates are critical in the sizing of retention-based Stormwater Control Measures. The default option in the Stormwater Technical Guide, and provided in the Stormwater Control Measure Sizing Calculator, is 0.75 in/hr for soils in the Hydrologic Soil Group (HSG) A/B, and 0.25 in/hr for HSG C/D.  These values are well-established and based on empirical data developed for the Contra Costa Clean Water Program.  Should you wish to submit your own percolation rate from on-site testing, please refer to "Native Soil Assessment for Small Infiltration-Based Storm Water Control Measures" for test methods.  This document was prepared for the Central Coast Low Impact Development Initiative by Earth Systems Pacific, and is available on the Central Coast Water Board website here.  Because of limitations in the precision of infiltration rate testing at very low rates, this option may be used only to support an infiltration rate of 0.5 in/hr or greater; otherwise the default 0.25 in/hr will apply.


A November 20, 2015 workshop presentation describes how to use the Stormwater Technical Guide and Calculator.  That presentation is available here, with accompanying slides here.

A January 9, 2014 presentation provides additional depth on the Low Impact Development design approach for meeting the Post-Construction Requirements.  That presentation is available in a stand-alone viewer.  Presentation slides are available here.

Contact Information

For more information, contact Cathleen Garnand or call (805) 568-3561.