An RPA is a sensitive environmental corridor, that by state law, must be preserved or restored to a natural condition when disturbed. The purpose of the RPA is to provide a buffer between development and water resources like streams. A natural buffer has been proven to provide a benefit to water quality, which is why the state mandates that all streams with perennial flow to be protected by a 100-foot buffer that is measured from the top of a stream bank.
How do I know if my property is within the RPA?
The Department of Public Works maintains a map showing the approximate location of RPAs in the City. This can be found online here. Search for the address and then choose "Resource Protection Areas" in the Map Layers column.
It is important to note that before any land disturbance can occur on a property the RPA must be definitively located by a licensed surveyor or professional engineer.
What am I allowed to do within the RPA?
Except under very specific circumstances, new development (new construction, expansion) in the RPA is limited to those that are considered "water dependent uses." All land disturbing activities proposed within the RPA must first be approved by the City. A property owner would need to submit a Water Quality Impact Assessment explaining the impacts of the activity and what actions will be taken to reduce those impacts.
Water Quality Impact Assessment (WQIA)
The purpose of the WQIA is to identify the impacts of proposed development, redevelopment, or land disturbance on water quality, lands within the resource protection area, and other environmentally sensitive lands, and to determine specific measures for mitigation of these impacts.