Agent2Agent in Charlotte>Question Details

Kelly Sniate…, Real Estate Pro in Matthews, NC

Can anyone explain exactly what a water shed is and what it means to buy in a water shed district? This is for Chlt NC area.

Asked by Kelly Sniatecki, Matthews, NC Sun Aug 21, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


This is a good website: http:://

Water Supply Watershed Regulations
Some Charlotte-Mecklenburg creeks flow directly into lakes that supply drinking water. By state law, those watersheds are under additional zoning and development regulations.

Where are the Water Supply Watersheds?
The additional regulations apply to Water Supply Watersheds, which are also called Watershed Protection Overlay Districts. In Mecklenburg County, the watershed regulations apply to sections of Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville and Charlotte that are closest to Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake and upper Lake Wylie. "Critical Areas" within Water Supply Watersheds have additional restrictions because of their proximity to a protected water source.

Can property in a Water Supply Watershed be developed?
The additional regulations are a zoning overlay. The property can still be developed according to underlying zoning. However, certain land uses are not allowed in Water Supply Watersheds. Also, the property must meet additional buffer and built upon area requirements as described in the watershed protection ordinances.

What are the buffer requirements in a Water Supply Watershed?
The minimum size of the buffer around a stream or lake depends on where the Property is in the Water Supply Watershed and also depends on the zoning ordinance for that Town or City. Minimum buffer widths range from 30 to 100 feet.

Mountain Island Lake provides 80 million gallons of water each day for Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents

What is Built Upon Area?
Built Upon Area is the percentage of a development project covered by impervious or partially impervious material. That includes rooftops, pavement, and gravel.

Read the Ordinances that regulate development in Water Supply Watersheds.

See a map of Water Supply Watersheds.

See a chart of Buffer requirements and Built Upon Area restrictions.

Gravel walkways are not allowed in buffer areas
within Water Supply Watersheds.

See buffer requirements for individual properties on POLARIS.

Click "Search" on the right side and enter the property address.
Click "Layers" on the right side, then check "SWIM Buffer on the left."
Click "Refresh Map."
Click "Legend" to understand what various colors mean on the map.
Look up buffer requirements on the Interactive SWIM Buffer Map

Type address or Parcel ID.
Required buffer zones are shown in various colors. Click "Legend" for more information.
Lake Buffer Implementation Manual and Application for Temporary Buffer Disturbance

Additional erosion control measures are required in portions of Water Supply Watersheds and in the Goose Creek Watershed. These Critical Areas are to further protect the quality of drinking water or protect an endangered species.

There are restrictions on tree removal, grading, clearing, and placement of permanent structures of any type including septic tanks in buffer zones within Water Supply Watersheds. For specific information, contact Water Quality Supervisor David Caldwell at 704-336-5452 or Mike MacIntyre at 704-432-5570.………
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
Thank you for all the great info. This is very helpful.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
You can find the maps at the Mecklenburg County GIS site. The rules are very strict for the owners of these lots on what they can and can,t do. Got some bushes you want to cut down. It maybe cost you thosands of dollars for not knowing the rules and what part of your property is involved. Good question as most people have no clue.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
When a property is in the watershed or critical watershed area, there are building restrictions. The restrictions are to make sure that a certain percentage of the property remains previous.....meaning that rainfall will go into the ground instead of running off. Impervious area is buildings, concrete....even crushed stone is considered impervious in some regulations. The problem is if you were to take 10 acres of raw land and blacktop the entire parcel - where is that rainfall going to go now that it can no longer be absorbed by the earth? It will runoff to another area. This can cause a number of issues for neighboring properties and I am sure a number of environmental issues. But, in a nutshell, that is what the watershed means for a developer, or anyone buying raw land to build.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
I believe that sometimes construction is effected by being in a water shed district as pollution is a strong concern. For instance, the Mountain Island Lake area is most likely effected by that since that is where we get our drinking water. Sometimes people have difficulty adding something to their home like a screen porch - effecting the impervious areas. I hope I got that right??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 21, 2011
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer