Non-residential / Commercial Properties

You can make a big impact on stormwater pollution by increasing the amount of stormwater runoff absorbed on your non-residential/commercial property. Plus, you'll also reduce your Watershed Protection Fee.

Commercial Stormwater Solutions Work Group

Learn more about the work group tasked with providing strategies to incentivize commercial property owners to better manage stormwater runoff. Click here for the Work Group's report.

The Watershed Protection Fee aims to improve the water quality of streams and rivers in your neighborhood and the Chesapeake Bay by funding projects that treat Howard County stormwater runoff.  All non-residential/commercial prop­er­ties will be assessed a fee of $15 for every 500 square feet of imper­vi­ous area on a par­cel. For the pur­pose of this fee, imper­vi­ous area is defined as rooftops, dri­ve­ways, park­ing areas, and pri­vate roads (including compact gravel areas). The imper­vi­ous area is deter­mined via aerial photography.

For a non-residential/commercial prop­erty, CLICK HERE and enter the prop­erty address to view the related fee. ** Please note this is impervious data from 2016. Updated data is being compiled **

Commercial Stormwater Solutions Partnership Program

To date we have successfully partnered with 8 commercial properties to retrofit existing stormwater facilities for increased water quantity and quality treatment, while providing these partners with a credit to their Fee.  Interested in partnering with the County to reduce your Watershed Protection Fee and improve stormwater treatment on your site?  Please reach out to Lindsay at

For prop­erty own­ers who improve the on-site man­age­ment of stormwa­ter by installing some form of runoff con­trol prac­tice or reduce the amount of impervious surface, the County estab­lished a project reim­burse­ment fund that will help off­set the one-time cost of instal­la­tion. CLICK HERE for details of the Non-residential Reim­burse­ment Program and NEW UPDATED 2020 RATES.

If you are inter­ested in the Non-residential/Commercial Reim­burse­ment Pro­gram, please con­tact us at

All non-residential/commercial prop­er­ties are eli­gi­ble to receive a credit based on the percentage of the fee equivalent to the percentage of impervious surface area treated on site with a stormwater facility/BMP up to 100% (restrictions apply - see below and CR78-2019). All credit applications are due by April 1 to be applied to that year's billing cycle.  All credit applicants must provide the caluclation for the percentage of impervious surface area treated on site with engineer approval.  Please complete the appropriate credit application below:

  • Prop­er­ties devel­oped under a Site Devel­op­ment Plan (SDP) dated AFTER Jan­u­ary 1, 2003 are eligible for up to a 50% credit. APPLY HERE.
  • Prop­er­ties devel­oped under a SDP dated BEFORE Jan­u­ary 1, 2003 are eli­gi­ble for a credit for the impervious area being treated to current standards, above what was required at the time of development. All prac­tices request­ing credit must meet 2000 MDE Stormwa­ter Design Man­ual stan­dards and are eligible for up to 100% credit. APPLY HERE.
  • A 100% credit may be applied to the fee:
    • for a property that is found to enjoy no benefit from the County's Stormwater Management, Storm Drainage, and Water Quality Program       OR
    • if the property owner partners with the County to install updated stormwater treatment that provides enhanced water quality above what currently exists or is required on the property.

Hard­ship Fee Adjustment
There are sev­eral fee adjust­ments available to reduce the hard­ship impact of the Water­shed Pro­tec­tion Fee on non-residential/commercial prop­erty owners.

  • If the Water­shed Pro­tec­tion Fee is greater than 15 percent of the total tax bill in Fiscal Year 2017, then the Fee is automatically capped at 15 percent of the total tax bill for all non-residential/commercial properties.  Each subsequent year the cap percentage will be lowered 5%, for example if the Fee is greater than 10% of the total tax bill in FY 2018, then the Fee is automatically capped at 10% of the total tax bill. This continues until the percentage hardship reaches a 5% cap in FY 2019.
  • If, after the percentage adjust­ment, the Fee is greater than $1,000, the owner has the oppor­tu­nity to prove finan­cial hard­ship by sub­mit­ting a defined series of doc­u­ments to Howard County. If a hard­ship is ver­i­fied, then the owner pays only $1,000. APPLY HERE.

For more infor­ma­tion on any of these pro­grams, please con­tact the Office of Community Sus­tain­abil­ity at 410−313−0700.