Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2017-12-21T14:49:26+00:00
What type of survey do I need?2014-05-23T16:23:16+00:00

Consulting with a surveyor will help define the type of survey that best suits your needs. The more detailed information provided will help eliminate extra services that may not be needed.

How do I choose a surveyor, landscape architect or civil engineer?2017-07-25T18:02:00+00:00

When seeking the opinion of a professional, it is best to research the field and ask for recommendations. Clients are looking for accurate and reliable information to improve the quality of their decisions. Prepare a list of questions to ask a potential consultant to narrow in on their expertise and ask to see similar in scope examples of their past experience. WPL has a stellar reputation in Hampton Roads and is interested in developing long-term relationships with our clients. We encourage our clients to ask questions and stay involved with the project from start to finish. Please let us tell you about our past experience and we can help you problem solve!

How long is a survey good for?2017-07-25T18:02:00+00:00

The short answer is the life of a survey depends on the needs for which a survey is requested. The rule of thumb is a survey is not good after 10 years if you are altering or adjusting the construction footprint of the property. However, if the project is minor such as building a fence, a boundary survey will be valid indefinitely. Because existing ground surfaces and features change over time, topographic surveys are used as a base map tool to show boundaries and easements to accurately show zoning.

How much will my survey cost and how is price determined?2017-07-25T18:02:00+00:00

There are many influences that are considered when survey quoting is determined. Before an estimate is provided factors such as the size of the lot, scope of the services, terrain, date of last survey, vegetation and old recorded documents have to be evaluated to accurately detail the professional services to be delivered. The surveyor should be able to explain the rationale behind the pricing and both the client and surveyor should discuss expectations of the final product before an agreement is executed.

What is stormwater and how do you manage it?2014-05-23T16:21:10+00:00

Stormwater management is an element that is required on virtually any site design. In most cases, new or redeveloped sites create an increase in hardscaped areas. These hardscaped areas create stormwater runoff and pollutants which eventually reach our waterways. To help protect our waterways, each site employs a technique to reduce runoff quantity and pollutants. Some of these techniques may involve stormwater infiltration, bioretention beds, stormwater ponds, or even third-party constructed filtering systems. Depending on the project, the final design could use one or a combination of these items and is integrated into the final site design. For more information contact your local municipality.

What is considered the landward 50 feet of the buffer and the seaward 50 feet of the buffer?2014-05-23T16:20:39+00:00

From the edge of the shoreline or tributary stream or any other seaward component of the RPA (i.e. highly erodible soils, tidal and contiguous nontidal wetlands), the first 50 feet inland is called the seaward 50 feet of the buffer. The next 50 feet inland is called the landward 50 feet of the buffer. The seaward 50 feet and the landward 50 feet of the buffer comprise the 100 foot buffer.

Can I add a room, a deck, a pool, or a gazebo to my house?2014-05-23T16:19:38+00:00

If your project has a construction footprint less than or equal to 2,500 square feet and will be located entirely in the RMA, the alteration or expansion will not have to meet any requirements of the CBPA Ordinance. If your project has a construction footprint less than or equal to 2,500 square feet and any portion will be located within the RPA, the project can be reviewed administratively by staff. If the area of land to be disturbed is over 2,500 square feet and located either in the RMA or the RPA, specific requirements must be met to ensure water quality protection. CBPA Board review and approval may be required.

What types of development activities are allowed in the Resource Protection Area (RPA)?2014-05-23T16:18:53+00:00

The construction, installation, or maintenance of water dependent facilities is allowed as well as redevelopment subject to the requirements of the ordinance. These are the only uses allowed in the RPA. Minor projects in the landward 50 feet of the RPA buffer are allowed as an exception. Other exceptions and variances are granted on an individual basis. Some projects may be reviewed and approved administratively while others may require Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Board review and approval.

How can I find out if my property is located in a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area?2014-05-23T16:18:00+00:00

To find out if your property is located in a preservation area, please call your local planning department.

What is the purpose of zoning ordinances?2014-05-23T16:17:24+00:00

Zoning ordinances are put in place to promote health, safety and general welfare of the public in addition to protecting and preserving the value of buildings and encourage the most appropriate use of land in a manner that promotes uniformity. Zoning helps with future planning of communities and population growth, conserving the areas natural land and resources and retaining an area’s existing character.

What is the difference between a topographic survey and physical survey?2017-07-25T18:02:00+00:00

Topographic surveys measure the elevation of points for a piece of land and illustrate them as contour lines on a plot. A physical survey includes land boundaries and building locations that are outlined and mapped out. This type of survey may be required by lending institutions when trying to obtain a mortgage loan.

Why is it recommended to have a survey done when purchasing a home?2017-07-25T18:02:00+00:00

Simply put, a survey will show the boundaries of the property, the relationship of the property to adjoining properties, easements to be aware of and whether there are any encroachments such as a fence or any other construction that is hanging over onto the land. A residential physical survey is the only reliable way of locating and confirming elementary information about a property. Obtaining a survey is very beneficial so homeowners do not run into any discrepancies between actual occupation or use and the description of record while also indicating the location of physical improvements in relation to the property lines. We highly recommend every homeowner to order a survey and review it before taking a title.