Chesapeake/Atlantic Preservation Act


The entirety of Northampton County is recognized as either a Resource Protection Area or Resource Management Area (RMA). A resource protection area (RPA) includes the following: tidal wetlands; water bodies with perennial flow; non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to tidal wetlands; non-tidal wetlands connected by surface flow and contiguous to water bodies with perennial flow; tidal shores and beaches; coastal primary sand dunes, including beaches; and a 100-foot vegetated buffer area located adjacent to and landward of the components listed above with the exception of perennial flow in which the buffer is located along both sides of any water body with perennial flow.

Per Northampton County Zoning Ordinance 154.2.163, the County will perform a RPA delineations. Please contact our Development Inspector to schedule an inspection. A fee and property owner permission are required prior to the County being able to perform an inspection.

Encroachments into the RPA must meet the requirements of Northampton County Zoning Ordinance 154.2.163(I). Please contact our Zoning Administrator with questions prior to doing any work within the RPA.

Additional information with regards to RPA can be found in the following documents.
Add links to Riparian Buffers Modification and Mitigation Guidance Manual and DEQ Information and Resources on Resource Protection Areas.

The Commonwealth of Virginia, Code Section 9VAC 10-20-120.7, and Northampton County’s Chesapeake/Atlantic Preservation Areas (CAP), Section 154.2.163, specifies that all on-site sewage disposal systems shall be pumped out at least once every five years. The entirety of Northampton County is recognized as either a Resource Protection Area or Resource Management Area qualifying all properties to comply with this program. For questions regarding the Septic Pump-out Program, please contact our Administrative Clerk.

The Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission often has programs that can provide financial assistance associated with a septic pump-out system service provided by a local provider. For more information, please call 757-787-29363 or email [email protected]

Chesapeake Bay Act

Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

The Virginia General Assembly enacted the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act in 1988. The Act is a critical element of Virginia's multifaceted response to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The Bay Act established a cooperative relationship between the Commonwealth and local governments and is aimed at reducing and preventing nonpoint source pollution. The Bay Act, like many other environmental protection programs, is an extension of the public trust doctrine. The beds of Virginia's streams, rivers and estuaries and the waters above them are held and managed by the Commonwealth for the benefit of all Virginians.

Northampton County has adopted zoning overlay district known as the Chesapeake/Atlantic Preservation District (CAP) to incorporate into county zoning water quality protection measures consistent with the state's Bay Act Regulations. Because of Northampton's proximity to the fragile Atlantic Ocean marine marshlands, Bay Act protection regulations have been extended to the County's seaside area as well. The Regulations address non-point source pollution by identifying and protecting certain lands called Chesapeake/Atlantic Preservation Areas.

The lands that make up Chesapeake/Atlantic Preservation Areas are those that have the potential to impact water quality most directly. Generally, there are two types of land features: those that protect and benefit water quality directly (Resource Protection Areas, or RPAs) and those that, without proper management, have the potential to damage water quality (Resource Management Areas, or RMAs). By carefully managing land uses within these areas, Northampton County can help reduce the water quality impacts of nonpoint source pollution and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and Seaside marshes.