By Iris Richmond. New stormwater regulations proposed by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board could add $3,000 to $6,000 per unit in a community, say Southern California builders, who have lined up to oppose them.

Les Thomas, Shea Homes' division president in Southern California, says builders and municipalities have joined a broad coalition protesting the new regulations, which were passed last December and are currently under appeal. They are seeking, at the very least, to modify them.

The regulations require that stormwater be captured, treated, or filtered before leaving a project site. This means that temporary controls builders put in during the construction phase would have to be made permanent, thereby forcing builders to establish a designated entity to maintain it in perpetuity. Noncompliance can result in penalties of $25,000 per day for each violation. Other restrictions include prohibition of grading during the rainy season, November 1 through April 1.

Tim Piasky, director of environmental affairs at the BIA for Southern California, predicts that builders would feel the cost increase in one to two years, if the regs pass without modification. The Water Board expects to hear the coalition's appeal late in the summer and make a final ruling thereafter. Visit for more details.

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, July 2002